Washington: In a new study scientists have claimed that decreased physical activity during childhood lead to poor academic performance.
Scholarly articles indicate that while physical activity in schools has diminished in part because of a growing emphasis on student performance and academic testing, decreased physical activity was actually related to decreased academic performance.
According to research presented in Monographs, physically active children tend to outperform their inactive peers in the classroom and on tests of achievement. When compared to their less fit peers, those who engage in more physical activity have larger brain volumes in the basal ganglia and hippocampus, areas associated with cognitive control and memory. Cognitive control refers to the control of thought, action, behavior, and decision-making.
Physically active children also have increased concentration and enhanced attention spans when compared to their less active peers. The authors find that fitness was related to the ability to inhibit attention to competing stimuli during a task, an ability that can help children stay focused and persevere to complete an assignment. The findings on attention encompass children with special needs as well as typically developing children.
The authors also report on physical activity as a non-pharmaceutical intervention for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and children with autism spectrum disorders, with positive results.
Lead author Dr. Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois said that the results point to the important potential of approaches focusing on physical activity for strengthening children's brain health and educational attainment. It was important for state governments and school administrators to consider the evidence and promote physical activity in the school setting, which children spend much of their time.
The findings are published by over 20 researchers in Monographs.