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Students with higher GPAs tend to eat breakfast more often

By Zhang Wenfang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-10-08 17:37
A college student eats breakfast in the cafeteria at Tianjing University, May 7, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Chinese researchers have analyzed big data to find that university students with better academic performance are more likely to eat breakfast in the cafeteria, especially on cold days, according to their findings published in a British journal.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, they concluded there is a significant positive correlation between college students' academic performance and the regularity of campus daily life, in which having meals and taking a shower on time are two measuring factors.

In contrast to Western countries, teachers and administrators in most Asian countries often ask students to be self-disciplined both in and out of class. "Do routines in life help a student get a better academic performance? We hope to answer this question," said Zhou Tao, one of the researchers.

Researchers from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, collected about 30 million digital behavioral records of 18,960 UESTC undergraduate students in three years from 2012 to 2015.

The behavioral records were on their campus smart cards, covering when they entered the library, took a shower, washed clothes, paid for meals in the cafeteria and other components of daily routines, The Beijing News reported on Monday.

In most Chinese universities, every student owns a campus smart card with real-name registration, which can be used for student identification and serves as a payment medium on campus.

"We applied the well-known Spearman rank correlation coefficient to quantify the correlation strength. The coefficient lies in the range of negative one to positive one and the larger the absolute value is, the higher the correlation is," said Cao Yi, who also participated the study.

"The correlation coefficient for GPA and having a meal regularly is 0.128 and that for taking shower regularly is 0.157," Cao said. Both suggest a strong positive correlation between academic performance and regularity of campus daily life.

"The students with better performance are prone to overcome difficulties and stick to their routine even on chilly mornings. The less the students are affected by weather conditions in keeping life routines, the more self-disciplined they are and the better grades they can get," said Gao Jian, another researcher on the study.

"We are not aiming to ask all the students to live according to a same timetable, but to help school administrators detect undesirable, abnormal behavior and give them proper intervention in time. For example, students who are addicted to online games often have an irregular lifestyle and those who always live alone are prone to depression," Zhou added.

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