Active Pre-teens are Better Students

In study, effect seems to be long-lasting.

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Time spent by young people in moderate to vigorous physical activity helps, not hurts, academic performance, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

British researchers measured the amount and intensity of activity by 11-year-olds, and compared that data to the children's scores on standardized tests at ages 11, 13 and 16. More time spent in moderate to vigorous activity at age 11 was associated with better performance on some tests at that age.

Perhaps more significantly, those who had been most active as 11-year-olds did better on some of the tests two and/or five years later. "Findings suggest a long-term positive impact of [moderate to vigorous physical activity] on academic attainment in adolescence," the researchers concluded.

This study follows one we reported on last month, in which aerobically fit children outperformed their peers on memory tests. As the authors of that previous study put it, "Reducing or eliminating physical education in schools, as is often done in tight financial times, may not be the best way to ensure educational success among our young people."


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