Promoting Brain Health and Brain Fitness

Promoting Brain Health and Fitness

“Research in neuroscience proves that even the best teaching and curricula can have surprisingly little effect when a child’s cognitive and emotional readiness to learn is not adequately addressed,” concludes this report from the Kennedy Forum.

Executive Summary
The Race to Inner Space

During global Brain Awareness Week in March 2015, The Kennedy Forum convened experts at the historic Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, MA to consider perspectives and review recent findings on brain research.  Representatives from the fields of neuroscience, pediatrics, psychology, mindfulness, neurocognitive behavior, education, healthcare, research, and technology gathered to explore ways to effectively convert brain health and fitness knowledge into high-powered tools for improving the well-being of the U.S. population.

These experts agreed that focusing on early childhood development through neuro-supportive, school-based intervention models would maximize an investment in national brain health and fitness. Evidenced-based, brain-building activities are among the most accessible and direct routes to improving academic achievement and optimal mental health in our nation’s youth, especially when reinforced throughout childhood and adolescence. Effective brain health and fitness interventions will play a key role in revitalizing grade school learning and American
society.

While this issue brief and its recommendations prioritize brain fitness interventions in children and adolescents, The Kennedy Forum also recognizes the importance of brain fitness through the entire life cycle. Just as physical fitness is needed for all ages, it is necessary for people to practice brain building exercises throughout their lives. The evidence supporting brain fitness exists for all age groups. Many programs and interventions for older adults are ready for widescale adoption. The Kennedy Forum will focus on the role that brain health and conditioning
plays in keeping all Americans mentally fit.

During the 1960s, President Kennedy initiated the “Race to Outer Space.” The Kennedy Forum is proud to now launch the “Race to Inner Space.” Recent scientific findings show that implementing interventions that develop children’s brains in the areas of cognition, mental and emotional states, and prosocial behavior, increases children’s higher-order processing, innerresilience, and overall well-being. The Kennedy Forum suggests that a concentrated focus on brain health and fitness will improve the lives of Americans, and restore our nation’s status as a
global frontrunner in education, ensuring prosperity for citizens and country alike.

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