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Physical Activity Affects Academic Performance

October 1, 2009

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that more Georgia public schools met federal testing goals this year than was originally published. The new count includes summer school score results, which the U.S. Department of Education now allows to be factored. According to the AJC:

“In all, 86 percent of the state’s 2,172 schools made “adequate yearly progress” (AYP), a critical benchmark of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Scores rose 7 points over reports released in the summer, and they beat last year’s final tally of 80 percent.”

This is certaintly good news for the state. But it doesn’t change the fact that Georgia still ranks close to the bottom in the country in test scores and graduation rates.

What can be done?

One major and often overlooked opportunity is to get  Georgia’s children more physically active.

A growing number of studies show that children who are physically active tend to perform better academically than their less-active peers.  On top of that, research shows that daily physical education in schools does not adversely affect academic performance – despite that it may take time away from academic subjects.

Yet in Georgia and across the country, schools continue to reduce physical education due to pressures to improve academic test scores. This is an issue that only changes to federal, state, and local education policy can solve.  Take a few moments to write your state representative or state senator to insist that physical education be added to the list of core school subjects in Georgia.

And in the meantime, what can you do to help your children get and stay physically active and healthy? The U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This can be accomplished through active afterschool activities, walking or biking to and from school each day, or by simply eliminating one hour per day of their screen time.

As a community, it’s time to stop simply talking about the complex and related problems of our children’s poor academic performance, childhood obesity, and related health issues. It’s time to act.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 2, 2009 9:41 am

    Just saw a great article on Active about “How to Get your Kids to Exercise.” Check it out!

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