Junk Food Study

By: Danielle Banks
By: Danielle Banks

Junk food may help your child improve on their test scores. According to a new study, students who received extra lunch calories scored better than those who stuck with a regular menu on days when standardized tests were given.

While this and other studies show kids get a short-term learning advantage from the extra sugar, not all medical professionals are smiling about the results.

According to the study, a 110-calorie increase over a regular lunch boosted math scores by 11 percent while English and Social Studies scores increased by six percent.

Sound strange? Some local kids thought so, too.

"I definitely feel more energetic and I want to do something, but I don't think it would help on tests," Hunter McGuire fifth-grader Will Frazier said.

And some medical professionals feel the same way.

"I would not advocate any extra calories to make better scores because we don't we do have the problem with childhood obesity and we don't want to be promoting that," said registered dietitian Carol Jones said.

Jones also said 110 calories isn't a large percentage of a daily calorie count.

"Usually, the school-age child may have anywhere from 1,500-2,500 per day depending on where they are in their growth pattern and so that 100 calories is not that big of a difference in the overall scheme of things," she said.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't monitor your child's sugar intake.

"I eat sugar, but I'm just trying to get a little sugar and I don't want to eat too much sugar," said Jordan Kyler, another Hunter McGuire School student.

While the study may show sugar raising test scores, Jones is quick to point out more studies showing sugar leading to obesity and potentially Type 2 diabetes.

"We're not going to eliminate sugars totally and we're not going to say never eat them again, but we definitely need to find their place in our meals," Jones said.

Jones said not all children desire sweets and it's up to you as a parent to promote healthy eating habits.

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