The impact of a child’s health on their education may not be immediately obvious, but over the course of a child’s educational experience it can be enormous. Malnutrition, lead poisoning, and other environmental factors that affect health in early childhood are associated with lifelong deficits in memory, reasoning, and impulse control, all of which make it much harder to learn. Older children who have chronic allergies and diseases also have a much harder time learning.
Obesity, diabetes, and related diseases also have significant negative impacts on learning. Psychological disorders (on the rise over the last 50 years) are also significant contributors to educational failure. In addition, poor health of the parent(s) can distract or derail a child’s education. (Algebra homework is hard enough in good times; when you’re sitting with your mom in the emergency room, or you’re nursing her through severe diarrhea, school and homework gets a very low priority.)