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Want Smarter Kids? Tell Them To Go Play!

Want Smarter Kids? Tell Them To Go Play!
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Fitter kids do better at school, according to new research that echoes numerous previous findings.

In the study, the fitter the middle school students were, the better they did on reading and math tests, according to researcher Sudhish Srikanth, a University of North Texas student. He presented his research last Friday at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

In the study, funded by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the researchers tested 1,211 students from five Texas middle schools. They looked at each student’s academic self-concept — how confident they were in their abilities to do well — and took into account the student’s socioeconomic status. And the average scores went up in correlation with levels of fitness.

The study included more than 1 200 middle school students from five schools in a suburban area of Texas, with 561 boys and 650 girls.

From Health24:

Fitness tests were administered during physical education classes to determine the youngsters’ heart and lung health (cardiorespiratory fitness), as well as their body mass index (BMI), an indicator of how much body fat a person has. The children also filled out questionnaires that helped the researchers determine factors such as self-esteem and social support.

After accounting for factors such as age, sex, family income and self-esteem, the researchers found that for both boys and girls, higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness predicted better scores on both the math and reading tests.

The research doesn’t prove cause and effect, and the researchers didn’t try to explain the link. But there is plenty more research demonstrating how physical fitness is associated with improvements in memory, concentration, organization, and staying on task.

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37 comments

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8:01AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

sounds obvious to me!

11:50AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Whether it's middle school children or younger, we need to get our kids out to play! Fresh air and exercise are important for the mental and physical health of our kids and this study shows that children even do better in school when they play outdoors. If schools are running out of time in the school day for recess, let's make sure our kids get time for outdoor play when they get back home.

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11:41AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Good article!

1:46AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

I wish more people realized how important this is, not just in the US, but also here in Europe, Finland is a great example and inspiration, but many countries are far behind on this matter.

8:56PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

playtime is an important part of growing kids

5:21PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks.

5:21PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks.

4:46PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

And not with the video games either get their behinds outside and let them run themselves ragged playing and have fun..They will also sleep much better at night and feel more rested in the morning ready to put on their thinking caps in school!!!

3:42PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thanks for the article, but this is nothing new

2:35PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Playtime is very important for a child's development. Thanks Judy.

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