-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- One key to better grades
in the classroom may lie in the gym or on the playground, a new
The research, to be published in an upcoming issue of the
Journal of Pediatrics, found that elementary and middle
school students who don't get enough exercise are more likely to
fail math and reading tests.
Although the study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship,
the findings may be especially important in light of the fact that
some school districts in the United States have cut physical
education classes in order to devote more time to the "3 Rs"
(reading, writing and arithmetic), the researchers said.
"Schools sacrificing physical education and physical activity time in search of more seat time for math and reading instruction could potentially be pursuing a counterproductive approach," study lead researcher Dr. Robert Rauner of Creighton University and Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Neb., said in a journal news release.
In the study, Rauner's team compared fitness levels and test
scores among students in elementary and middle schools in Lincoln
and found that aerobically fit students were 2.4 times more likely
to pass math tests and more than twice as likely to pass reading
tests than those who were not aerobically fit.
The researchers also found that body-mass index (a measurement
of body fat based on height and weight) was an important indicator
for overall general health, but did not have a significant effect
on test scores, according to the study.
So although obesity is a major concern for kids' health, the
findings suggest that aerobic fitness may have an even greater
effect on school performance than weight, the researchers said.
They also found that both aerobic fitness and family income have
a similar impact on children's school performance. Since students'
aerobic fitness can be easier to improve than household income,
schools should think carefully before they reduce the time given to
physical education classes and recess, the researchers
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
children and physical activity.
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