Being sedentary has all kinds of health implications for kids. More than eight percent of all kids in the U.S. have diabetes. Now it’s also being linked to their performance in school, which makes the fact that gym classes being removed from kids’ curriculum all the more destructive.
Researchers are finding that when sedentary, overweight kids start to exercise, their performance in math and overall thinking and planning skills improved. Experts also linked exercise to increased activity in the “executive function” area of the brain.
The researchers evaluated the children using standard achievement tests. Some of the kids even had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans done of their brains. The MRIs revealed that those who exercised had increased activity in the “executive function” area, which is associated with self-control, planning, reasoning and abstract thought.
“We know that exercise is good for you, but we didn’t have very good evidence that it would help children do better in school,” said lead researcher Catherine Davis, a clinical health psychologist at the Georgia Prevention Institute at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta.
While the study examined overweight children, Davis believes the same results would apply to kids at normal weight levels.
One of the major concerns in our country is how we are being outperformed in education. When you realize the fact that a third of children in the U.S. are overweight, it’s not a stretch to think that a major part of our academic under-performance could be largely due to being out of shape. This gives parents two reasons to make sure their kids are staying healthy: they may just do better in school, plus they will learn how to take care of themselves in the process.
(via: U.S. News & World Report)
February 14th, 2011