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Fitter Kids, Better Grades?

Researchers Find That Fitter Middle School Students Scored Better on Math and Reading Tests

The Evidence for More Activity Builds continued...

Sallis is a co-founder of the SPARK physical activity programs that are in place nationwide.

Lesley Cottrell, PhD, vice chair of research in pediatrics at West Virginia University, has also linked fitness with better school performance in her research. "[The current research extends] our findings by considering students' self-concept," she says.

Her advice to parents? "A healthy child is a well-rounded child. Focusing on one developmental area may neglect other, important areas. For instance, in our findings we acknowledge that we have neglected the physical activity and fitness development for our children as a whole. By doing so," she says, "we may miss an opportunity to improve or sustain their academic development."

The study was funded by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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