What Our Children Eat Affects Their Success in School

Brian kissmanThe Impact of Diet on Learning

It’s a fact. The medical and scientific community has shown, based on countless studies, that diet has an impact on children’s cognitive abilities and learning in school.


When children skip breakfast, they struggle to concentrate and focus in class. When lessons and learning activities are mentally demanding, when they involve working memory (storing and manipulating information in the short-term), students do better when they have had a nourishing breakfast.

Studies have shown that a balanced and complete breakfast is first and foremost a way of increasing levels of blood glucose, meaning that more energy is available to the energy-hungry brain throughout the morning. Further, having a complete breakfast that includes both carbohydrates and protein leads to the brain functioning effectively with increased neuro-transmitters, which increases mental cognitive processing and energy.

The lack of nourishing breakfast or eating processed foods has a negative impact of hyperactive behavior. Processed foods with high sugar content have a measurable negative impact on children’s behavior. Both school aged and pre-school children were found to be more hyperactive (over-active, inattentive and impulsive) after consuming processed foods with a high sugar content at meal or snack time.

Across the Years

The most extreme long-term effect of diet on cognition is from malnutrition or undernutrition across the years. Undernutrition leads to stunted growth in the first two years of life, and then deficits in cognition are seen right through the teenage years, even if a proper diet has been introduced later on; again, the importance of a balanced, natural diet cannot be stressed enough. Good nutrition in the first years of life and throughout childhood is critically important.

The Message at New York Academy

The School to Home partnership is making a difference when parents are committed to proper nutrition at home. This includes not sending processed food snacks with high sugar contents to school with children.

New York Academy is committed to providing healthy snacks and meals at school.

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