Food, mood and the classroom

Written by Healthy Eating Advisory Service, Nutrition Australia

The need for Australian schools to promote healthy eating has never been clearer. There is a growing volume of evidence demonstrating the benefits that can be seen across the school when healthy eating practices are embedded.

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Schools are an important place to influence what students eat and drink, as they can consume 40% of their daily energy intake during school hours alone! [1] 

In Australia, school canteens sell foods and drinks to students during meal and snack breaks and are accessed by up to 95% of children1. 

The foods and drinks your school provides and promotes can have a big impact, as healthy students are better learners. Behaviour, concentration, memory, and academic performance are all improved by having a healthy diet, and limiting junk food. [2],[3] 

Researchers around the world have investigated the relationship between what children and adolescents eat and emotional and behavioural problems.

The good news is that these studies suggest healthy eating strategies are protective of mental health, reducing the likelihood for such problems. 

It’s easy if you know how! Come along to our free session at the National Education Summit Melbourne on 30 & 31 August 2019 to hear more about the latest evidence and how you can start seeing positive results at your school.

Our session will explore the latest research on the connection between food and mood in the classroom. It will discuss the strong evidence on the effects of healthy eating on student learning, mental health and overall wellbeing along with best practice strategies you can easily implement to support healthy eating in your classroom and school. You don’t have to do it alone. You will also learn of free support programs that can help your school to improve student learning outcomes by prioritising healthy eating.

[1] Bell AC, Swinburn BA. What are the key food groups to target for preventing obesity and improving nutrition in schools? Eur J Clin Nutr2004;58:258–63

[2] Student Health and Academic Achievement. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2009.

[3] Source: http://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/diet-and-mental-health-in-children-and-adolescents/   

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