Good nutrition plays a key role in promoting physical and mental health throughout the lifespan. In exploring the link between nutrition and health, research conﬁrms that dietary practices are particularly important during the early years of life. Good nutrition promotes immune function and supports the rapid growth that occurs during the childhood years, while helping children to develop healthy lifelong behaviours. In addition to positive health outcomes, there is evidence that good nutrition enhances brain function. For example, a healthy diet supports optimal learning capacity and cognitive ability, and enhances concentration, IQ scores and academic achievement. Despite this, many Australian children are consuming a diet that is characterised by increased consumption of foods with limited nutrient content. Disparities in nutrition and educational outcomes across diverse population groups also prompts consideration of broader social determinants of health. For example, strong scientiﬁc data indicates correlations between socio-economic disadvantage and poorer diets amongst children. The interconnectedness between nutrition and educational outcomes provides opportunities for teachers and schools to support and promote the role of nutrition for learning. Learning for nutrition equally shapes the work of teachers and schools. In considering the interdependence between nutrition and learning, and the broader factors that shape Australian children’s diets, this chapter investigates the importance of nutrition for learning, as well as learning for nutrition. In particular, we focus on diverse skills and competencies that can be developed across the primary years within the classroom. We then conclude with a brief discussion of the role of schools in promoting nutrition, through the promotion and availability of healthy food options for all children.
|Title of host publication
|Health and Education Interdependence. Thriving from Birth to Adulthood
|Richard Midford, Georgie Nutton, Brendon Hyndman, Sven Silburn
|Number of pages
|Published - May 2020