It is a simple fact that what we eat affects who we are. Most people know that what is put into our bodies on a daily basis will always come back to bite us, or reward us. However, many people mindlessly fill their bodies with unhealthy foods, and question later why they are feeling the way they are. Some search themselves for why they are feeling so bad, but overlook the fact that the cause may be in the bag of Doritos next to them. Nutrition plays an integral role in our lives and directly manifests itself through day to day cognition, general quality of life, and even life long cognitive development.
The development of the mind is a constant process. It is the ongoing and ever-transforming source of all human knowledge. Everyone grows and learns differently, therefore, it is very hard to find, or even collect, accurate data corresponding to mental health and development on a large scale. However, the easiest place to find information like this is in schools. Students are subject to constant monitoring, and objective assessment on a daily basis, and elementary students in particular offer treasure troves of developmental data that we can use to make inferences regarding a number of independent variables, one of the them being their intake of food throughout a normal school day.
In a child's first years of life, it is important for optimal growth that they receive improved nutrition and improved learning opportunities. Not only are those two factors independently crucial to early development, but it has been said that they have a direct correlation. Among a plethora of results gathered from a study done in 2011 by Kate Northstone et al are “novel associations between dietary patterns in early childhood, and current diet, with general intelligence assessed at 8.5 years of age.” These early “developmental” years are labeled so because of their measurable effects on intelligence and ability to perform in a functioning society later in life. Children develop the skills needed at an early age so that the continual and malleable impact maintains its effects throughout life.
Amongst the many factors affecting childhood development are schooling, living conditions, physical activity, and nutrition. Nutrition obviously plays a role in each of the three previous components, and so is rightly considered the most important. In her book regarding the vast relationship between environmental factors and nutrition, Sareen Gropper commented, “Nutritional epigenetics is particularly important during development.” Although many things are affecting how children perform in school, nutrition plays an overarching role in each of those factors.
Consumption of certain foods has been linked to negative correlation with intelligence. Excesses of processed foods in diets of not only children, but participants of all ages, were negatively associated with IQ (Northstone 626). Aside from specific foods, skipping out on certain meals is widely known to negatively...