April 22, 2009

Chewing gum may help improve test scores

A U.S. study indicates chewing gum can have a positive effect on teenagers' academic performance.

Previous research conducted in a laboratory setting showed gum chewing can help reduce stress, improve alertness and relieve anxiety.

Study leader Craig A. Johnston of the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said the current study provides a possible role for chewing gum in helping to improve academic performance in a real life classroom setting.

The study reports:

-- The researchers found that students who chewed gum showed an increase in standardized math test scores and their final grades were better compared with those who didn't chew gum.

-- Students who chewed gum had a significantly greater increase in their standardized math test scores after 14 weeks of chewing gum in math class and while doing homework compared with those who did not chew gum.

-- Chewing gum was associated with a 3 percent increase in standardized math test scores, a small but statistically significant change.

The study was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2009 in New Orleans.