Children’s Reading and Math Skills Linked to Future Success

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

math class, reading and math skills, child education

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks via Flickr

  • Children’s reading and math skills linked to future success: According to a new study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland recently published in the journal Psychological Science, a person’s math and reading abilities in early childhood influence how successful they are as adults. The large-scale study evaluated data from more than 17,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales who participated in a long-running study on child development and have been followed since they were born in 1958. Results indicated that children who had better reading and math skills at age 7, achieved higher incomes, better housing and better jobs at age 42. Even reading ability one level above the average as a child was associated with about $7,750 more annual income as an adult. The link between math and reading ability as a child and success as an adult was independent of intelligence, education and socioeconomic status in childhood. As the study authors Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates, psychological scientists at the University of Edinburgh, explained: “These findings imply that basic childhood skills — independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school or the social class you started off in — will be important throughout your life.” They acknowledged the possibility of genes playing some role in these findings.
  • US government writes new dietary guidelines for 2015: The American government is creating new dietary guidelines for healthy eating to be released later in 2015. A government advisory committee consisting of medical and nutrition experts is set to issue preliminary recommendations later in January. These dietary guidelines will affect nutrition patterns throughout the country, from school lunches to labels on food packages. The 2015 guidelines will suggest specific limits on added sugars for the first time in history, advising that only 10% of calorie intake originate from added sugars (equaling to about 50 grams 50 grams of sugar, or 12 teaspoons a day) for a person on a normal diet. As far as salt, the 2010 dietary guidelines suggested reducing sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day, and 1,5000 milligrams for adults 51 and over, African-American or those who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 2015 advisory panel indicated that years of public pressure to lower sodium levels has not been successful since the average American still consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day (or 1 1/2 teaspoons). The new guidelines also suggest to include fewer red and processed meats. For pregnant women, they recommend to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day (about 2 cups of coffee) as opposed to the 2010 guidelines that strongly suggests pregnant women to consume no caffeine at all. The committee also addressed sustainability issue, discussing sufficient food supplies for future generations. Therefore, a diet higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is recommended as more health promoting and with lesser environmental impact.
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