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.
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.
Photo Credit: broeders1964
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