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Iron Deficiency, Low Fitness Levels Linked To Low GPAs

Update Date: Feb 05, 2017 07:19 PM EST

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Pennsylvania State University observed that young-adult female students have a high rate of iron deficiency and low fitness levels. Focusing on this population, the researchers investigated the combined effects of iron deficiency and low fitness levels and found that the two are linked to the student's grade point averages or GPAs. It means that iron deficiency and low fitness level lead to lower GPAs.

The study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, female students who were fit and had normal iron levels reported to achieve higher grade point averages compared to female students who had low fitness levels and iron deficiencies. Interestingly, the difference in grade point average was as much as 0.34 which is more than enough to drop or increase the student's letter grade from A to B or vice versa.

The researchers explained that iron deficiency has been widely associated with fatigue, lower work capacity, and poor academic performance. On the other hand, physical fitness is widely known to influence health, cognitive functions, and overall wellbeing. By measuring the iron status and fitness level in regards to the grade point average, the researchers have made the finding more relatable to the students and can effectively resonate a change in the students to improve themselves.

The study analyzed 105 women currently enrolled at Penn State and was reported to have an average GPA of 3.68. The data collected showed that women who had the highest iron status and the highest GPAs. Moreover, the women who were fit but had normal levels of iron also had higher GPAs compared to women who were both unfit and iron deficient.

Moving forward, the researchers suggest that by improving or maintaining physical fitness and meeting the dietary and nutritional recommendations can help female students achieve success in their college years. However, the researchers do note that the effect of physical fitness and normal or high iron levels in the body does not necessarily mean an instant improvement in cognitive functions thus getting a higher GPA. But in the long run, by being physical fit and meeting normal to above average iron levels, the students can see the effects on both their bodies and GPAs.

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