Nutrition, hydration, and supplements may influence brain function and academic performance in kids, reports a new study.
Eating well, drinking enough water and taking certain supplements have all been shown to positively affect brain function in adults. Less is known about how these factors affect children. At Nutrition 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, researchers announce new findings on the ways nutrition influences how children think, learn and behave.
Eating Habits Linked to Academic Performance
An analysis of more than 850 elementary school children found those who reported higher consumption of snack foods and sugar-sweetened beverages scored lower on standardized academic tests, on average, than children who consumed less of these foods. While unhealthful diets were not linked to lower cognitive test scores, the findings suggest policies to improve children's diets could help kids do better in school, researchers say. Rachel Bleiweiss-Sande, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, will present this research in the Baltimore Convention Center.
Hydration Associated with Better Brain Functioning
Epidemiological data suggests many children in the United States do not drink enough water. In a new study, researchers found children with greater habitual hydration performed better during tasks requiring cognitive flexibility. In addition, children showed improvements in their hydration levels and working memory after consuming a higher amount of water--2.5 liters daily--than when instructed to drink just half a liter per day, suggesting increasing water intake can help improve both hydration and cognitive function. Naiman A. Khan, University of Illinois, will present this research in the Baltimore Convention Center.
Supplements Boost Brain Function
Micronutrient Powder Aids Babies' Development in Rural India
Undernutrition, prevalent among young children worldwide, can harm children's development. In a randomized controlled trial conducted in 26 Indian villages, infants who received a multiple micronutrient powder, an early learning intervention, or both showed significant improvements in expressive language, visual reception, and social-emotional behavior compared with those receiving a placebo. The findings suggest these interventions can help babies' brain development in communities facing nutritional deficiency and a lack of early learning opportunities. Kristen M. Hurley, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will present this research in the Baltimore Convention Center.
Caffeine and L-theanine May Help Children with ADHD
Caffeine and L-theanine, substances found in tea leaves, are known to improve sustained attention in healthy adults. In a new study examining the effects of these substances in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), researchers found five boys with ADHD showed better sustained attention, improved cognitive performance and decreased impulsivity when taking caffeine and L-theanine supplements together compared to a placebo. However, impulsivity increased when either substance was administered alone. Chanaka N. Kahathuduwa, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, will present this research in the Baltimore Convention Center.