The Association between Health Behaviours and Academic Performance in Canadian Elementary School Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Article, Other literature type English OPEN
Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac ; Sara F. L. Kirk ; Stefan Kuhle (2015)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, volume 12, issue 11, pages 14,857-14,871 (issn: 1660-4601, eissn: 1660-4601)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/ijerph121114857, pmc: PMC4661684
  • Subject: R | Canada | Medicine | diet | academic performance | Article | child | physical activity
    mesheuropmc: education

Background: Establishing early healthy eating and physical activity behaviours is critical in supporting children’s long-term health and well-being. The objective of the current paper was to examine the association between health behaviours and academic performance in elementary school students in a school board in Nova Scotia, Canada. Methods: Our population-based study included students in grades 4–6 across 18 schools in a rural school board. Diet and physical activity were assessed through validated instruments. Academic performance measures were obtained from the school board for Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Associations between health behaviours and academic performance were assessed using multilevel logistic regression. Results: Students with unhealthy lifestyle behaviours were more likely to have poor academic performance for both ELA and Mathematics compared to students with healthy lifestyle behaviours; associations were statistically significant for diet quality, physical activity, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption for ELA; and breakfast skipping, not being physically active at morning recess, and not being physically active after school for Mathematics. The effects of diet and physical activity were independent of each other and there was no interaction between the two exposures. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that support for healthy behaviours may help to improve academic outcomes of students.
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