By: Krystle Crossman
We all know that foods that come from places such as McDonald’s and Burger King have been linked to obesity in children. Now a new study shows that it is also linked to a decline in academic performance at school. Researcher Kelly Purtell lead the study at Ohio State University which showed a link between fast food consumption and the effect it has on academic performances.
The study used data from the national survey Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort which followed 12,000 students from grades 5 through 8. The fifth grade students were given a survey where they were asked about the amount of fast food that they had over the last week. These questions were asked before they took their academic assessments in school. They then surveyed the students all the way through eighth grade and looked at their academic scores.
What they found was that the students that ate more fast food had a marked decline in the rate of academic growth as compared to their peers that did not eat fast food. Students who had fast food products at least once a day showed a decline in math, science, and reading performances. The more fast food they reported eating, the more of a decline in their test scores. Students suffered the most in math.
So how does fast food correlate with academic performance? The nutrients that children need for development are not found in fast food. They are not getting the vitamins and minerals that their brains need. The researchers suggested that parents cut back on the amount of fast food their child eats and increase the amount of fruits, proteins, and veggies that they consume. When they are not getting these foods their brain does not develop as quickly as it should and their academic performance suffers.
One of the biggest problems is that fast food is cheap and readily available. This makes it very convenient when children have a lot of afterschool activities and there isn’t a lot of time to cook dinner from home. The researchers stated that this may not be as big of a problem as it is if the fast food were not as convenient.