Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

Use “Move and Learn” Activities to Help Improve Academic Performance

Use “Move and Learn” Activities to Help Improve Academic Performance

Move & Learn is how we refer to the physical activity sections within each and every nutrition lesson of the Balance My Day™curriculum. Why include physical activity lessons in a nutrition education curriculum? Oh there are so many reasons why! I could write 4 more blog posts about why. How about I just stick with this for starters: Pairing healthy eating habits with moving more is what’s best for kids’ bodies and minds.

Here’s one to try:

Adjectives and Healthy Snacks Move & Learn
*developed for grades K-2, but easily adaptable for older kids

Ask kids to jump up and perform a movement (touch the sky, hop, run in place) when they hear an adjective in front of a healthy snack choice. Read from the following list:

crunchy apple
yummy banana
juicy orange
toasted, mini bagel
crisp whole grain tortilla
chewy string cheese

If you like this one, there are 29 more in that K-2 Balance My Daycurriculum, one for every nutrition lesson. There are 60 more Move & Learns, all age-appropriate and linked to the nutrition lessons...AND every Balance My Daycurriculum comes with SPARK PE lessons to support and enhance the curriculum!

Now for the “improving academic performance” part of this...As I said there are so many reasons to combine nutrition and physical activity when it comes to kids’ health. One that is receiving major attention lately is the positive association between physical activity and academic performance. While there are literally hundreds of studies supporting this link, I want to simply share 3 statements from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifically about studies on classroom physical activity breaks:

  • Eight of the nine studies found positive associations between classroom-based physical activity and indicators of academic performance.
  • Classroom teachers can incorporate movement activities and physical activity breaks into the classroom setting that may improve student performance and the classroom environment. Most interventions reviewed here used short breaks (5–20 minutes) that required little or no teacher preparation, special equipment, or resources.
  • School boards, school administrators, and principals can feel confident that maintaining or increasing time dedicated for physical activity during the school day will not have a negative impact on academic performance, and it may positively impact students’ academic performance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Association Between School Based Physical Activity, including Physical Education, and Academic Performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.

For more evidence-based information on this topic, here are two links:

Healthy Policies, Practices, and Environments - Healthy Kids Challenge

Academics and Physical Activity - The SPARK Programs