Weighing in on the relationship between macronutrient intake, weight status, cognitive functioning, and academic performance in school-aged children Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Miller, Kylee M.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • Objective: The dramatic increase of pediatric obesity and the controversy regarding its impact on cognition may be due in part to the multifaceted nature of cognition and the role of environmental factors this relationship. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between macronutrient intake, weight status, cognitive functioning, and academic performance in school-aged children using a nationally representative sample. Methods:Participants were children between ages 6 and 16-years-old who completed cognitive and academic portions of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III). Data were analyzed with ANOVAs and regression analyses, controlling for confounding variables. Results: It was found that 6-8 year-old children in the underweight range performed better than children in the overweight and obese ranges on all cognitive and academic tasks. Adolescents BMI's in the normal weight range performed better than their peers in the underweight and obese weight ranges. Of the children who reported not meeting macronutrient recommended daily allowances (RDA), those who met the RDAs performed better on cognitive and academic tasks. Children in the overweight and obese weight categories reported consuming fewer total calories than their peers in the normal weight range. Demographic and socioeconomic variables were the strongest predictors of performance on both cognitive and academic variables. Higher total caloric intake contributed to Block Design performance and higher intake of carbohydrates contributed to reading and math performance. Implications of this are discussed. Conclusion:These findings suggest that BMI and nutritional intake, are associated with cognitive and academic performance, particularly during adolescence. The study provides support for the adverse relationship between underweight or obese weight status on cognitive and academic performance.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Simeonsson, Rune
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013
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