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ED Awards $1.5 Million Grant to Study Health Instruction

Research shows that healthier students also perform better in school, and North Carolina is hoping that teaching students about their own health decision-making will lead to better health and academic achievement.

Duke University researcher Leslie Babinski has received a three-year, $1.48 million grant to study the state's new 9th-grade Healthful Living course. The 45-session course uses neuroscience and cognitive science findings to teach students about the ways that good sleep, nutrition and exercise contribute to brain function; link their health behaviors to success in school, sports and life; and build their self-regulation skills to keep up healthy habits.

According to the grant notice, 750 freshmen in six high schools will participate in the study, including 600 who will take a pilot test on health in the third year. Moreover, researchers will gather feedback from 38 teachers and more than 700 parents.

This will be a prime opportunity to study whether teaching kids about how their minds work can help them make decisions and act better. If it proves useful, it might inspire new ways to teach students in other subjects, too.

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