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Study: Fit Children Perform Better In School

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File photo of a person having their body fat measured.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a person having their body fat measured. (Credit: Thinkstock)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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LINCOLN, Neb. (CBS St. Louis) – A new study finds that kids who exercise more do better in school.

Researchers compared standardized test scores of students between 4th and 8th grade to their body mass index.

Researchers found that children who do not get enough exercise are more likely to fail math and reading tests. Children who were fit had a 2.4 times greater chance of passing math tests and a 2.2 times greater chance of passing reading test compared to lesser fit children.

This study was done in response to 40 percent of schools in the U.S. cutting back on gym and recess.

“Although the long-term consequences of childhood obesity are well documented, some school districts have reduced physical education classes to devote more time to the three Rs in education – reading, writing, and arithmetic,” lead author Dr. Robert Rauner of Creighton University and Lincoln Public Schools told the Mother Nature Network. “However, there is new evidence that leaving out an important fourth R – aerobics – could actually be counterproductive for increasing test scores. Schools should think twice before taking minutes from physical education classes and recess.”

The study also found that although BMI is a factor in a child’s health, it did not directly lead to poor test scores.  It is aerobic fitness that affects school performance.

The study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

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