How Much Does Students' Health Impact Their Academic Success?

We’ve all heard Mom’s advice before: “Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and exercise so you will do well in school.” But how many students really do that? And if they do, does it impact their academic success?

Oral Roberts University is on a mission to find out if the old adage is really true. According to EdSurge, Oral Roberts is requiring all incoming freshmen to purchase a FitBit for the purpose of tracking their health during the academic year. In fact, in one particular class, students will be graded on how many steps they take in a day. Now that’s focusing on health! The best part about this upcoming program is that the student’s statistics will be tracked in their learning management system, Desire2Learn, making it easy for students and faculty to see results and insights into how each student is doing on their fitness goals.

So how do students feel about the new requirement for incoming freshmen? According to the report, more than 550 students have voluntarily paid out of pocket for FitBits. Maybe it’s their way of avoiding the “Freshmen 15.”

It will be interesting to see if some type of research will come out of Oral Roberts’s experiences. Might there be a direct correlation between the number of steps taken per day and how a student does in class? Research currently shows that 86% of NCAA athletes graduate college while the national college graduation average remains at 59%. Is it possible to increase the national graduation rate by encouraging students to be more healthy and active?

Whether or not Oral Roberts learns any lessons remains to be seen. However, it’s never a bad idea to encourage any person to become more active and put a little focus back on themselves to better achieve success. So tell me, would you be inclined to encourage your students to be more healthy if your college or university was tracking their activity?