The American Psychological Association (APA) posted an article about helping children develop better eating and exercise habits. Below are the benefits of good nutrition and daily exercise, according to the APA.
Good nutrition is essential to healthy brain development in children which is, of course, critical to learning.
Mental and behavioral benefits
– perform better academically
– feel better about themselves, their bodies, and their abilities
– cope with stress and regulate their emotions better
– avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
Establishing healthy eating and exercise habits early in life can lead to long term healthy behavior in adulthood.
Children need a wide variety of nutrients (e.g., protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins) to assist in their daily growth and development and to protect them from childhood illnesses.
Daily exercise also helps children to build stronger muscles and bones and limit excess body fat.
Healthy eating also cuts down on risk for cavities, eating disorders and unhealthy weight control behaviors (i.e., fasting, skipping meals, eating very little food, vomiting, using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics), malnutrition, and iron deficiency.
Healthy eating and consistent physical activity help to prevent chronic illnesses that appear in adulthood associated with obesity, e.g., heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and several forms of cancer.
The relationship between a healthy diet and a healthy mind is perhaps intuitive. But scientists are discovering more every day about how what-children-eat is related to their behaviors. Particularly ADHD research shows how food allergies and sensitivities can mimic ADHD sypmptoms. Before starting any medication, Dr. Weller recommends ruling-out food-related issues. A visit to a Registered Dietician is a good first step.