Healthy Kids Learn Better

Kids who eat healthier and move more perform better in school. Studies show that healthy kids get better grades, attend school more often and behave better in class. We now know that making time for physical activity and nutrition in school is not a break from academics; it’s an investment in higher academic performance.

Physical Activity School Meals School Snacks Spread the Word


Every single young person has to be prepared for a very competitive world economy. They have to be at the top of their game, and for that, they need to be healthy. They need proper nutrition and access to healthy meals at school and at home in order to reach their full potential. - Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Watch: The Effect of a Healthy School

Read: More Effects of a Healthy School

Ninety-five percent of school-aged kids and teens attend school. Aside from home, it’s the place where kids spend most of their time. Click below to learn more about how schools use this time to teach students healthy habits and enhance academic performance.

Active Kids Learn Better

Experts recommend that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Working these minutes into the school day not only supports a child’s overall health but also helps teachers keep students focused and alert in the classroom.

To support this connection, Active Living Research released a report and infographic about the effects of physical activity on academic success.

Discipline Referrals Down

Spout Springs School of Enrichment in Flowery Branch, Georgia joined the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program in 2011. Since then test scores have risen and disciplinary referrals have dropped by coupling enrichment classes with nutrition and physical activity, and incorporating more physical education into the curriculum. The school reduced non-instructional time and increased active learning time ‒ and is now reaping the benefits!

Read Their Story

Test Scores Up

After years of stagnant test scores, Robert Gray Elementary School in Capital Heights, Maryland joined the Healthy Schools Program in 2009 and implemented a morning activity club, dance class, and 10-minute physical activity breaks using the school’s TV channel. Test scores have now significantly increased and PE teacher Marquel Hatcher insists, “This didn’t happen by accident. I know because of what we did that everyone’s scores are higher.”

Read Their Story

Nutritious Meals Fuel Learning

Kids consume up to 50 percent of their daily calories and nutrients at school. The meals they eat can either provide them with the energy they need to be full and attentive at their desk or subtract from the lessons they are learning in the classroom.

Attendance Improves

In order to learn, kids must first show up to school. Director of Nutrition Services Robert Lewis of El Monte School District in California reports that serving a healthy breakfast at Durfee School has helped improve student attendance. He said, “What we can see statistically is that kids are coming to school on time and that they have better attendance. I know it’s due to breakfast because we serve breakfast at 8 a.m. every morning.”

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Performance Improves

The food service department of Palm Beach County Schools provides universal free breakfast for all students. District Wellness Coordinator Kim Sandmaier said, “In our commitment to make campuses healthier, providing our students with healthy meals improves student health, reduces childhood obesity, and ultimately improves student academic performance." The district has worked with the Healthy Schools Program since 2009.

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Healthy Snacks Keep Kids Focused

The calories kids consume at school are not just from the cafeteria. Students consume snacks and beverages at many different places on campus. These snacks can complement learning in the classroom by giving students nutritious boosts of energy rather than empty calories.

Exam Scores Rise

Penny Parham, administrative director for food and nutrition services at Miami-Dade Public Schools in Florida, is dedicated to creating healthy meals and snacks that kids enjoy. Last year, high school students improved math and science end-of-course exam scores, outpacing the state average. Elementary and middle school students surpassed their counterparts statewide, and in other large districts, on reading and math assessments.

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Celebrations Get Healthier

Staff at Namaste Charter School in Chicago want everyone to be on the same page about serving healthy foods everywhere on the school campus. That’s why they distributed a detailed list of healthy snacks that meet the USDA Smart Snacks in School standards to parents to encourage them to bring healthy treats to school during holiday and birthday celebrations.

Read Their Story

Spread the Word

Download our quote cards from school leaders across the country and share them on your social media sites to spread the word that healthy students learn better!

Right click and select “Save Image As” to download.




Right click and select “Save Image As” to download.


Right click and select “Save Image As” to download.

“Our academic growth directly coincides with achieving the Alliance’s Bronze, Silver, and Gold National Healthy Schools Awards. Since creating a healthy environment in our school, our attendance rates have gone up and our Academic Performance Index has increased by almost 100 points ‒ the highest in our school district.” - Juan Munoz, Principal, Wilkerson Elementary School in California