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Associations between grades and physical activity and food choices: Results from YRBS from a large urban school district

Anastasia Snelling (School of Education, Teaching, and Health, American University, Washington, DC, USA)
Sarah Irvine Belson (School of Education, Teaching, and Health, American University, Washington, DC, USA)
Jonathan Beard (The College Board, New York, NY, USA)
Kathleen Young (School of Education, Teaching, and Health, American University, Washington, DC, USA)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between television viewing time, physical activity level, food consumption patterns, and academic performance of adolescents in a large urban school district in the USA where health disparities are prevalent, particularly among minority residents.

Design/methodology/approach

The 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey was used to analyze the relationship between academic grades and physical activity patterns and food consumption in a large urban school district serving over 77,000 students.

Findings

Results indicated that students who self-reported grades of As and Bs had higher levels of physical activity and less screen time compared to students who reported grades of Ds and Fs. Further, as grades decreased the consumption of soda and fast food increased.

Originality/value

Higher grades track significantly with improved physical activity and lower intake of soda and fast food. These findings provide additional support for the role of regular physical activity and its positive effect on academic performance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Jonathan Beard served as a co-author while working as an adjunct instructor at American University, and is currently an Associate Research Scientist at The College Board. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the College Board.

Citation

Snelling, A., Belson, S.I., Beard, J. and Young, K. (2015), "Associations between grades and physical activity and food choices: Results from YRBS from a large urban school district ", Health Education, Vol. 115 No. 2, pp. 141-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-03-2014-0028

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited