There is no question the country as a whole is taking a look at the childhood obesity epidemic. The First Lady’s initiative to conquer childhood obesity addresses the problem from both a nutrition and physical activity standpoint. Her efforts include making healthier food choices more readily available for lower income families as well as programs where physical fitness is encouraged.
The National Football League has also launched their own valiant effort called NFL Play 60, encouraging children to get 60 minutes of physical activity in each day. A new study finds that exercise not only benefits kid's health, but will benefit them in the classroom as well. This study, released by the University of California in Los Angeles, found that students who are physically fit did better on standardized tests than those who were less fit.
The researchers compared fitness levels and body weight of thousands of middle school students to their standardized test results. Their findings showed a more than one point drop in test scores for each additional minute it took the students to complete a one mile fitness test in which they could either walk or run.
The study group reflected the high national statistics of overweight or obese children. Thirty-two percent of the students were overweight and about 28 percent were obese. The test results found that 65 percent of the both male and female students in the study did not measure up to the state fitness standard for their age. The study also concluded that the students who were equal to or exceeded the state fitness standards also had higher standardized test scores.
While the study focused on middle school children, the statistics are also alarming for those in pre-school. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the last 30 years their obesity rate has more than doubled. This is a huge epidemic, especially in relation to the above study, because we want our children to succeed academically.