Literacy 4-6

Physical Well-being

Factor Connections

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How Physical Well-being connects to...

The benefits of physical health go beyond our bodies—our cognitive skills also improve with physical fitness. Our Physical Well-being involves proper nutrition, regular exercise, and quality Sleep. Students with good overall Physical Well-being benefit from improved cognitive skills, which in turn can boost academic performance including learning to read and write.

Main Ideas

Physical Well-being is dependent on several important components:

  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition is an important part of physical fitness. Most students in the United States do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, even though they are an essential component of a healthy diet and help children maintain a healthy weight. Sometimes this is due to limited access to these foods, particularly in lower SES homes.
  • Regular Exercise: Physical Well-being directly impacts cognitive skills, which improve with increased participation in physical activities, leading to enhanced academic performance. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children ages six and up engage in physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day; however, only 21.6% of children 6- to 19-years-old meet this criteria.
  • Sleep: Getting a sufficient amount of quality Sleep helps students' Physical Well-being, including their brain health. This in turn helps them learn as much as possible in the classroom and their daily lives.

Physical Well-being is tightly intertwined with psychological well-being (see Emotion). Each can have a significant impact on the other, and this interplay ultimately defines a student's overall health. For example, just like in adults, stress in children can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, high blood pressure, obesity, and other negative effects. Managing stress is an important part of maintaining Physical Well-being.

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