Physically fit children do perform better academically! The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) commends the California Department of Education (CDE) for its study released today that shows a distinct relationship between academic achievement and physical fitness of California's public school students.
"It makes great common sense to physical educators that active, physically fit children will perform better academically," said NASPE Executive Director Judith C. Young, Ph.D. "Now the California Department of Education has provided specific evidence. NASPE urges further research to examine relationships between physical activity and academic performance. In addition, information is needed which compares the students' physical education programs to their various levels of fitness."
The newly completed research study individually matched scores from the spring 2001 administration of the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT-9), given as part of California's Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, with results of the state-mandated physical fitness test, known as the Fitnessgram, given in 2001 to students in grades five, seven, and nine. The Fitnessgram, developed by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, assesses six major health-related areas of physical fitness including aerobic capacity (cardiovascular endurance), body composition (percentage of body fat), abdominal strength and endurance, trunk strength and flexibility, upper body strength and endurance, and overall flexibility. A score of 6 indicates that a student is in the healthy fitness zone in all six performance areas, and meets standards to be considered physically fit.
In the study, reading and mathematics scores were matched with fitness scores of 353,000 fifth graders, 322,000 seventh graders, and 279,000 ninth graders. Key findings of the study are:
* Higher achievement was associated with higher levels of fitness at each of the three grade...