New York: Getting students to exercise more might not just address obesity issues but also improve their grades with a U.S. study finding physically fit students tend to score higher in tests than their less fit peers.
Almost 32 percent of the students were overweight and about 28 percent were obese, the researchers report in The Journal of Pediatrics. The researchers estimated students` aerobic fitness according to their one-mile run/walk time on a flat track. With a 15-minute maximum allowed time to complete the test, the boys averaged slightly less than 10 minutes, while the girls averaged a little less than 11 minutes.McCarthy`s team found that nearly two thirds of the students (65 percent) fell below the state fitness standard for their age and gender. Compared with these students, students who met or exceeded fitness standards had higher average test scores. Allowing for age, social and economic status, gender, ethnicity, and body size did not significantly alter this association.Compared with students of desirable weight, overweight and obese students also scored significantly lower on tests, the researchers found. These findings, McCarthy`s team notes, confirm and extend those of previous investigations. They say further studies are needed to figure out why aerobic fitness may play a role in academic performance.If future studies confirm a cause-and-effect link between lower fitness and reduced academic performance, "schools will have to reverse their recent disinvestment in physical education ostensibly for the purposes of boosting student achievement," they concluded.
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