CDC: Bad grades linked to poor health habits in high schoolers

High school students with poor academic performance are more likely to exhibit risky health behaviors than students with more positive academic outcomes, according to the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  

For the report, researchers analyzed data compiled in the CDC's 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included responses from 15,624 high school students.

Regardless of sex, race and grade-level, high schoolers who reported lower academic performance were more likely to report health risk behaviors associated with lack of physical activity, substance use, poor nutrition and violence. These students also reported fewer healthy behaviors than students who performed better academically.

Compared to students who received mostly As, students who got mostly Ds and Fs were nine times more likely to have injected drugs, five times more likely to have skipped school in the last week and four times more likely to have had four or more sexual partners.

Additionally, students who reported receiving mostly As were twice as likely as students who received Ds and Fs to have had breakfast every day in the last week and one and a half times more likely to report 60 minutes of physical activity for five or more days a week.

"School health programs … that include safe, supportive environments and engagement from communities and families as key components, have been linked to improved academic achievement outcomes among students," concluded the report's authors. "Such evidence suggests that education and public health professionals have a shared interest in promoting student health and that collaborative efforts have the potential to make important strides in improving the health and academic achievement of youths."

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