Can exercise boost your child’s test scores?
U.S. public school systems, especially those in the Chicago area, are throwing blame around for why student test scores are so low: a lack of resources, low parent involvement and unmotivated students.
But a recent study, to be published in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, reports that a lack of exercise may be one of the main problems.
The study examined nearly 12,000 students in 47 Nebraska public schools to determine the link between aerobic fitness, body mass index (BMI) and scores on standardized math and reading tests.
Researchers found that aerobically fit children had a 2.4 times greater chance of passing math tests and a 2.2 times greater chance of passing reading tests compared with children who were not aerobically fit.
This study may be a response to the drop in gym classes across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last June that nearly half of U.S. high school students had no physical education classes during a one-week period.
Chicago Public School elementary students had no recess for almost 30 years until the current school year. An active Chicago parents group, known as Parents United/Padres Unidos, lobbied the school board for six years to get recess reinstated based on evidence that physical activity boosts school performance.
“Schools sacrificing physical education and physical activity in search of more seat time for math and reading instruction could potentially be pursuing a counterproductive approach,” said Dr. Robert R. Rauner, lead researcher on the study, in a statement.
In short, if you want your kids’ schoolwork to improve, it may be helpful to get them to move.
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