Study: Fitter kids get better grades

4 Aug

In Government is trying to control the vending machine choices of children, moi said:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/government-is-trying-to-control-the-vending-machine-choices-of-children/

Kathleen Doheny, in a WebMD Health News article, Fitter kids, better grades? The article was reviewed by Louise Chang, MD:

Fitter kids do better on school tests, according to new research that echoes previous findings.

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

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.

They knew these two factors would play a role in how well the students did, Srikanth says.

After those factors, they looked at others that might influence school performance, such as social support, fitness, or body composition.

Bottom line? Of the other factors examined, “cardiorespiratory fitness has the strongest effect on academic achievement,” he says.

The research doesn’t prove cause and effect, and the researchers didn’t try to explain the link. But other research suggests why fitness is so important, says researcher Trent Petrie, PhD, director of the Center for Sport Psychology at the University of North Texas.

“Physical fitness is associated with improvements in memory, concentration, organization, and staying on task,” he says.

Fitter Kids, Better Grades: Details

For one to five months before the students took standardized reading and math tests, they answered questions about:

  • Usual physical activity
  • Their view of their school ability
  • Self-esteem
  • Social support

The researchers assessed the students’ fitness. They used a variety of tests that looked at muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, aerobic capacity, and body composition.

Previous studies have found a link between fitness and improved school performance, Srikanth says. However, this new study also looked at several other potential influences.

For the boys, having social support was also related to better reading scores.

For the girls, a larger body mass index was the only factor other than fitness that predicted better reading scores. The researchers are not sure why.

Other studies have found fitness more important than weight for test scores.

For both boys and girls, fitness levels were the only factors studied (besides socioeconomic status and self-concept) related to math scores.

Srikanth found an upward trend, with more fitness linked with better scores. He says he can’t quantify it beyond that.

Fitter Kids, Better Grades: Perspectives

The new research echoes that of James Sallis, PhD, distinguished professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. A long-time researcher on physical fitness, he reviewed the findings.

“The mountain of evidence just got higher that active and fit kids perform better in school,” he says.

The finding that fitness was related to both reading and math scores in both girls and boys is impressive, he says. “That’s strong evidence.”

“I hope this study convinces both parents and school administrators to increase and improve physical education, recess, classroom activity breaks, after-school physical activity and sports, and walk-to-school programs….”

Citation:

The study was funded by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

SOURCES:Sudhish Srikanth, University of North Texas student, Denton.James Sallis, PhD, distinguished professor of family and preventive medicine; chief, division of behavioral medicine, University of California, San Diego.Lesley Cottrell, PhD, vice chair of research, pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown.American Psychological Association annual convention, Orlando, Aug. 2-5, 2012.Trent Petrie, PhD,  professor of psychology and director of the Center for Sport Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton.

See, Healthy Lungs and Hearts Predict Better Math, Reading Scores http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/schooled_in_sports/2012/08/healthy_lungs_and_hearts_predict_better_math_reading_scores.html?intc=es

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.

http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=ACF23D1E-229A-11E1-A9BF000C296BA163&aka=0

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders                                    https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests                                             https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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