Research: Childhood obesity impacts classroom learning - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Research: Childhood obesity impacts classroom learning

ADVANCE, MO (KFVS) -

Childhood obesity continues to rise in the U.S. but the growing numbers now mean even more than they did in the past. Recent research shows kids' weight can impact their learning.

Poor nutrition and extra weight can put kids at risk for heart disease and diabetes. From the playground to the classroom, teachers and school nurses say the effects of childhood obesity doesn't stop there.

For Advance kindergartners, playtime is their favorite. It is physical activity like this that Advance School Nurse Debbie Welch, says is best for kids of all ages.

"Children are not as active as they once were they have all these technology that they, you know, sit around and play games,” Welch said.

She says that's part of why the childhood obesity epidemic has grown. 

Now, new research shows the problem stretching into the classroom, impacting kids' academic success. 

That same research also found soda specifically problematic for kids' learning. It found as students' grades dropped, the consumption of soda and fast food increased.

That's why Welch says, nutrition is key.

"If you give them empty calories, you know, that they do not need,” Welch said.

Physical Education Teacher and Coach Chris Asmus says unhealthy and less active bodies, can also mean less active brains.

"They're not concentrating on classes because they're hungry or they over-ate at lunch and they're sleepy after they come back to class,” Asmus said.

That's why Asmus promotes an active lifestyle early with his students.

"I feel like if I can find them some life time activities they may enjoy those later on down the road maybe even find stuff right now for them to do just to keep them active,” Asmus said.

When it comes to packing lunches, Welch says, keep it healthy.

"More fruits and vegetables, less sugars, less fast foods,” Welch said.

That along with plenty of playtime, keeps kids mind and bodies healthy and happy.

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