Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance
The Challenge: One in three kids in the United States is overweight or obese. Obesity can have serious ramifications for kids' cognitive development and affect school attendance.
Make an impact: Because children spend so much time at school, schools have a unique opportunity to help children become more healthy and active. Policies that support daily physical education and regular activity breaks during the school day can help increase physical activity, improve academic performance and improve classroom behavior among students.
What the findings are about: This research brief reviews evidence that examines how physical activity and fitness may help school-aged children maximize their academic performance, and provides an overview of the effects of physical activity on the developing brain.
- Regular participation in physical activity has academic performance benefits.
- Single sessions of physical activity can enhance attention and memory.
- The effects of physical activity on brain health may explain improvements in academic performance.
- Educators, administrators and parents should thoughtfully integrate physical activity across the curriculum throughout the school day to facilitate learning for all students.
This Research Brief updates prior evidence on the role of physical activity in academic performance: Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance
- Findings presented in this brief are also available in the related Active Kids Learn Better infographic, available in English and Spanish.
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