Online Program

Does a Healthier Lifestyle Lead to Educational Success? A Secondary Analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lorinette Wirth, BS, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
Megan Copsey, BS, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
background: Studies have reported a positive relationship among healthier lifestyles, positive peer relationships, and self-esteem levels in adolescents. However, little information is available on the relationship between healthier lifestyles and academic achievement.  As a result, Congress mandated  the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to collect data measuring the impact of social environment on adolescent health, leading to the prospective cohort study, National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). This study explores the relationship between healthier lifestyles and academic achievement (i.e. high school graduation status) in adolescents via secondary data analysis.   

methods: In this study, we analyze data from Wave I and Wave III. Data for effector variables, such as exercise, screen time, and food consumption comes from 6,504 students nationwide in grades 7 through 12 between September 1994 and April 1995 (Wave I). The Wave III sample consists of Wave I respondents who were re-interviewed between August 2001 and April 2002 and were between 18 and 26 years old (N= 4,521). Statistical analysis is performed using software SPSS-20.

results: A crude binary logistic regression showed no significant association between exercise and graduation status.  However, controlling for covariates such as weight, age, socioeconomic status, and mother’s education status should present a more robust analysis. This will be included in our final multivariate logistic regression.

conclusions: Findings from this study may lead to additional research identifying specific healthy behaviors that can lead to academic success, thereby potentially reducing obesity rates while improving academic achievement.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the association between health behaviors and academic achievement (i.e. high school graduation status) by studying effector variables such as physical activity and food consumption. Discuss how these findings could be used to implement programs promoting physical activity, healthy food consumption, and decreased screen time among adolescents.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am in the accelerated Masters of Public Health program at Saint Louis University, concentrating in epidemiology. I have taken masters level courses in epidemiology and have focused on study design in addition to analyzing/critiquing a number of studies. I have experience with SAS and SPSS in addition to recently finishing a practicum experience at the Saint Louis County Department of Health in the Communicable Disease Control Department.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.