April 17, 2020 By Synergy Wellness | Synergy School of Tomorrow
Childhood Obesity and It's Negative Effects on Children's Cognitive Behavior
According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity is an on-going pandemic in America with at least 17% of children currently obese. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, depression and inflammation in children - all of which have negative effects on the cognitive behavior of children. 
Obesity and maintenance of a high-sugar diet affect a child's impulse control which ultimately leads to more bad eating habits and poor decision making. This can influence an individuals' ability to function properly while at school and contribute to lower test scores.
Overweight children may experience difficulties in regards to mental health such as, decline in working memory, focus, and alertness. Research has led to the discovery that several factors affecting weight have been tied to lower academic success among young students. 
"The relation between obesity, depression, and inactivity is multidirectional. Inactivity is a cause of obesity. Depression may be a cause of inactivity and therefore promote obesity. Those with a large body have greater difficulty exercising and derive less pleasure doing so; the resultant inactivity may promote depression. " 
How a Child's Emotional Stability is Affected by Obesity
Societal acceptance for overweight children is slim as most minds today are constantly programmed to associate 'thinness' as positive and excess weight as negative. While it may be true that an excessive amount of weight support the above mentioned risk factors in children's health, it is still important that caregivers and schools find ways to assist children with overcoming their weight issue rather than them continue to feel badly about it.
Several factors can contribute to the low self-esteem in a child struggling with obesity: lack of confidence during physical education, thoughts and feelings of shame about their body and fear in becoming the subject of bullying. These factors can lead to more issues such as depression, emotional eating or other eating disorders. 
How Can Fitness Improve My Child's Results at School?
As caretakers, it is our job to provide children with the resources they need to combat weight related issues while educating them on how to prevent relapses. Healthy food and fun fitness options will encourage your child as they begin the journey to holistic nutrition.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), children aged 6 to 17 years of age should spend 1 hour or more of each day, in some type of physical activity each day. Participation in a structured high-energy exercise should take place at least 3 times a week and all activities should be fun and developmentally appropriate.
While there is not a specified amount of time for younger children to spend each day in activity, it is recommended that they engage in active play throughout the day. 
Children who engage in physical education (not free-play) on a daily basis have shown better academic achievement specifically in testing results for mathematics, reading and writing. It has been found that structured exercises that require the body to balance, read, adjust or convert, boost the recipients cognitive functions of concentration and attention.
Studies found that students involved in a structured fitness or athletic skills program had improved classroom behavior, achieved set goals and maintained good grades. 
What is Good Nutrition and What are the Benefits to My Child?
Good nutrition means that a child is eating a well balanced diet that includes protein, fat, complex carbohydrates and fiber. 
Students who maintain a better diet have improved behavior and
ultimately help to create a better learning environment for all the
students in the classroom. Sociological and economical studies have
shown that a higher quality diet directly correlate to improved
performance on exams.
Health and wellness initiatives focused on the improvement of children's health have shown to aid in academic success for students. 
Intentional monitoring of student dietary and fitness behaviors can provide guardians and schools with the data needed to strategically design a Wellness Plan that fits the specific need of the child. Through our holistic approach to Health and Wellness, Synergy School of Tomorrow seeks to provide each student with the tools and resources necessary to ensure their success at home and in school. This early success will propel them toward a future founded in rich principals and offer them mental, physical and emotional security.
"Synergy Wellness allows for the intentional monitoring of student's dietary and fitness behaviors. Our Wellness Portfolio component provides data to create Individual Fitness and Nutrition Plans for each student."
Contribution by: Wisdom, Tracy - District Campus Director | Synergy School of Tomorrow
 CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019, June). Childhood Obesity Facts: Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States
 American Psychological Association citation
Lu, S. (2016, June). Obesity and the growing brain. Monitor on Psychology, 47(6). http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/06/obesity-brain
 American Academy of Pediatrics, The Emotional Toll of Obesity, A Parent's Guide to Childhood Obesity: A Road Map to Health (2017, December) April 17, 2020
 Zhao, Guanggao et al. “Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Development: Protocol for a 15-Year Longitudinal Follow-Up Study.” BioMed research international vol. 2017 (2017): 8568459. doi:10.1155/2017/8568459
 Phd Just, David, 3 Ways Nutrition Influences Student Learning Potential and School Performance, Word Press (2019, June) April 17, 2020, https://healthy-food-choices-in-schools.extension.org/3-ways-nutrition-influences-student-learning-potential-and-school-performance/#_ednref1
 US Department of Agriculture, Physical Activity, USDA: Choose MyPlate, April 17, 2020,
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association between school based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance.
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf
 Childhood Obesity and Depression: Connection between these Growing Problems in Growing Children Gloria M. Reeves, Teodor T. Postolache, Soren Snitker Int J Child Health Hum Dev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 Oct 16. Published in final edited form as: Int J Child Health Hum Dev. 2008 Aug; 1(2): 103–114. PMCID: PMC2568994