Healthy lifestyle behaviours are positively and independently associated with academic achievement: An analysis of self-reported data from a nationally representative sample of Canadian early adolescents

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Abstract

Introduction: The lifestyle behaviours of early adolescents, including diet, physical activity, sleep, and screen usage, are well established contributors to health. These behaviours have also been shown to be associated with academic achievement. Poor academic achievement can additionally contribute to poorer health over the lifespan. This study aims to characterize the associations between health behaviours and self-reported academic achievement. Methods: Data from the 2014 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study (n = 28,608, ages 11–15) were analyzed. Students provided self-report of academic achievement, diet, physical activity, sleep duration, recreational screen time usage, height, weight, and socioeconomic status. Multi-level logistic regression was used to assess the relationship of lifestyle behaviours and body weight status with academic achievement while considering sex, age, and socioeconomic status as potential confounders. Results: All health behaviours exhibited independent associations with academic achievement. Frequent consumption of vegetables and fruits, breakfast and dinner with family and regular physical activity were positively associated with higher levels of academic achievement, while frequent consumption of junk food, not meeting sleep recommendations, and overweight and obesity were negatively associated with high academic achievement. Conclusions: The present findings demonstrate that lifestyle behaviours are associated with academic achievement, potentially identifying these lifestyle behaviours as effective targets to improve academic achievement in early adolescents. These findings also justify investments in school-based health promotion initiatives.

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Faught, E. L., Gleddie, D., Storey, K. E., Davison, C. M., & Veugelers, P. J. (2017). Healthy lifestyle behaviours are positively and independently associated with academic achievement: An analysis of self-reported data from a nationally representative sample of Canadian early adolescents. PLoS ONE, 12(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181938

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