Skip to main content

How important is math to health?

How does math connect to our health and wellness? And how do we improve math skills in students? In an interesting study shared on PLOS One, a peer reviewed open access journal, the authors indicated improved numeracy demonstrates correlations with 'quality decision processes and outcomes.'  Specific examples include individuals who have higher numeracy skills have better health outcomes and do better financially by managing income, loans, and credit cards. According to the article, when teachers used a psychological intervention strategy called values affirmation where students reflect on core values and write about their important values, they are reminded of the positive aspects of their identity and build resiliency as they improve numeracy skills. 

I hope you take a minute to reflect on the linked articles and share your thoughts. How do you help students affirm their values? Do you feel this helps in the classroom? And do you see the connection between numeracy and health or financial literacy. 

I look forward to your comments. 

Kathy Tracey






ecappleton's picture
One hundred


Thanks for sharing this research. I had been considering starting with a values discussion when I begin my class in the fall. This confirms it.

Interestingly, a few colleagues just shared some values activities on Twitter:


Kathy_Tracey's picture
One hundred

Hi Eric, 

Thanks for the twitter example. Can you share a few examples of how you hope to start the values conversations? 


Dorothea Steinke's picture

True numeracy means being able to think of numbers in relationship to one another - keeping both the Parts and the Whole in mind at the same time. This is also how people make informed decisions - looking at all the pieces/possibilities and seeing how they fit into the big picture. When you learn to do it with basic math, you find yourself applying the same principles to other areas of life.

If this Part-Whole idea is new to you, see my LINCS Guest Moderator presentation on Number Sense: A Simple Tool that Uncovers It.

Dorothea Steinke

Lafayette, CO