Childhood Markers of Health Behavior Relate to Hippocampal Health, Memory, and Academic Performance

Kelsey M. Hassevoort, Naiman A. Khan, Charles H. Hillman, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


There has been an increasing body of evidence that a variety of factors, including physical activity, nutrition, and body composition, have a relationship with brain structure and function in school-aged children. Within the brain, the hippocampus is particularly sensitive to modulation by these lifestyle factors. This brain structure is known to be critical in learning and memory, and, we suggest, for progress in the classroom. Accordingly, the aims of this article include (1) examining the role of hippocampus and hippocampal-dependent memory in supporting academic performance; (2) reviewing the literature related to the associations between hippocampal-dependent memory and a number of lifestyle factors, including physical activity, nutrition, and body composition; and (3) discussing the implications of these findings in an educational setting. The findings discussed suggest that, through interventions that target these lifestyle factors, it may be possible to improve hippocampal function and academic performance in school-aged children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalMind, Brain, and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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