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Physically active kids are better students

Physically active kids are better students

Physically active kids are better students
August 3, 2006

Physically active middle school students tend to do better in school than their more sedentary classmates, according to a new study published in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by researchers from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.

“For a quarter century, California has pursued petroleum-free transportation more doggedly than any other place in the U.S. It has tried to jump-start alternative fuels ranging from methanol to natural gas to electricity to hydrogen. None has hit the road in any significant way. Today, the state that is the world’s sixth-largest economy finds itself in the same spot as most of the planet: With $75-a-barrel oil, and increasing concern about the role fossil fuels are playing in global warming, 99% of its cars and trucks still run on petroleum products.”

The researchers tracked more than 200 sixth graders for one academic year and found that students who took part in more vigorous physical activities did approximately 10 percent better in core classes such as math, science, English and social studies.

“We have precious few studies that link activity or fitness to measurable academic outcomes,” said Jim Pivarnik, a Michigan State University professor with appointments in kinesiology, epidemiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation who is one of the study’s co-authors. “Considering all the factors that go into what determines students’ grades in school, a 10 percent increase by the most physically active kids is huge.”

“Physical education and activity during the school day reduce boredom and help keep kids’ attention in the classroom,” said Dawn Podulka Coe, who is now an assistant professor in the Department of Movement Science at Grand Valley State University. “We were expecting to find that students enrolled in PE would have better grades because of the opportunity to be active during the school day. But enrollment in PE alone did not influence grades.

“The students who performed better academically in this study were the most active, meaning those who participated in a sport or other vigorous activity at least three times a week.”


Environmentalism is born with exposure to nature before age 11 A new study out of Cornell University suggests that environmentalism is born in children who are exposed to nature before the age of 11. Nancy Wells, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell, and Kristi Lekies, a research associate in human development at Cornell, analyzed data from a 1998 U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service survey that examined childhood nature experiences and adult environmentalism. The researchers sampled more than 2,000 adult Americans, ages 18 to 90, about their early childhood nature experiences and their current adult attitudes and behaviors relating to the environment.

This article is based on a news release from Michigan State University.

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