New Report: Healthier Students Are Better Learners

Posted by on March 22, 2010

The wellness gap

According to a new study from Equity Matters, better efforts to address health disparities that impede learning for students from disadvantaged groups are needed to close the achievement gap, reports Education Week. “At the national level, we’re on the verge of investing billions in our educational system, and the return on those investments is going to be jeopardized unless these health issues are addressed in a much more cogent way,” said the study’s author, Charles E. Basch of Teachers College, Columbia University. The report examined over 300 studies in education, psychology, health, and other areas, identifying disparities and strategic leverage points for improving student learning. For identification as leverage points, health problems had to negatively affect urban students from traditionally disadvantaged minority groups, be linked in some way to poorer educational outcomes for students, and have some evidence of school-based programs and policies that could successfully address them. The six “educationally relevant health disparities” Professor Basch selected are: vision problems, asthma, teenage pregnancy, aggression and violence, physical inactivity, lack of breakfast, and inattention and hyperactivity. Beyond treatment of these problems, better coordination is needed among school-based health-related prevention and intervention programs so that simultaneously occurring issues can be treated together.

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