Score another win for exercise. It looks like physical activity helps kids and adolescents do better in school.
A consensus statement published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which distils the best available evidence on the effect of physical activity on children and young people, was drawn up by a panel of international experts with a wide range of specialties, from the U.K., Scandinavia and North America, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in April of this year.
It includes 21 separate statements on the four themes of:
It also spans structured and unstructured forms of physical activity for 6 to 18 year olds in school and during leisure time. The statement argues that:
These findings are particularly important when you consider that cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness are strong predictors of the risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes in later life. Because vigorous exercise in childhood helps to keep these risk factors in check, it could mean we have in our hands a big win for preventative care. Even moderate exercise — if done frequently enough — can improve a child's heart health and metabolism.
The statement makes a strong case for the incorporation of physical activities in schools. In addition to the positive effects of exercise on physical health, it can also help children develop important life skills, boost their self esteem and strengthen relationships with parents, peers and coaches.