The role of nutrition and physical activity in academic achievement

Numerous articles in popular media cite a possible connection between nutrition, physical activity and academic achievement. The primary purpose of this study was to review the efficacy of one nutrition and fitness program currently being used with at-risk high school students at Alta Vista Continuation High School in Vista, California. The study endeavored to determine whether or not the practice of the program's principles affected academic performance as measured by the number of credits students earned. Analysis of data collected from a period of five academic years indicates the program, called Treasure Hunters, had a statistically significant positive effect on the number of credits students earned. The study sought to answer the following question: when compared to a randomly selected control group, did students who participated in a program of nutritional awareness and resistance training demonstrate increased academic performance as measured by the number of high school credits they earned? While further study is required, it is hoped the current study will lend credence to a call for a review of education's present role in promoting a healthier lifestyle amongst our nation's youth and the impact a healthier lifestyle has on academic achievement. KEYWORDS: Academic achievement; at-risk students; nutrition; obesity; overweight; physical fitness