When kids exercise more, their grades might rise too

Feb. 28, 2013, HealthDay

One key to better grades in the classroom may lie in the gym or on the playground, a new study finds.

The research, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, found that elementary and middle school students who don’t get enough exercise are more likely to fail math and reading tests.

Although the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the findings may be especially important in light of the fact that some school districts in the United States have cut physical education classes in order to devote more time to the “3 Rs” (reading, writing, and arithmetic), the researchers said. Continue reading

In many families, exercise is by appointment only

Feb. 27, 2013, NPR [Shots Blog]

By Jane Greenhalgh and Patti Neighmond

Most families know that their kids need to exercise. In a poll that NPR recently conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, practically all of the parents surveyed said it’s important for their kids to exercise. But about one-third of them said that can be difficult.

Take Yvonne Condes of Los Angeles: It falls on her, like many parents across the country, to make sure her kids get enough exercise every day. Federal health officials recommend at least one hour of daily exercise for children and teens. But many public schools have reduced or completely cut physical education classes because of budget constraints. Continue reading

How ‘crunch time’ between school and sleep shapes kids’ health

How ‘crunch time’ between school and sleep shapes kids’ health
Feb. 25, 2013, NPR [Shots Blog]

It’s an important question for American families and the nation as a whole: Why do so many kids weigh too much?

There are recent hints the epidemic may be abating slightly. Still, one in every three American kids is overweight or obese.

To understand why, NPR conducted a poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. It focuses on what happens in American households during the hours between school and bedtime.

This is crunch time for most families — when crucial everyday decisions get made about food and exercise.

Our poll used a unique design to get at what is actually happening in the life of a “target child” in each household. We supplemented their responses with more than 800 that came in when we asked parents, through NPR’s Facebook page, to describe their own “crunch times.” Continue reading

Screen time not linked to kids’ physical activity

Jan. 10, 2013, Reuters

By Genevra Pittman

Just four in 10 U.S. kids met dual national guidelines for getting enough physical activity and for limiting “screen time,” researchers found – but the likelihood of kids exercising regularly didn’t depend on whether they kept away from screens.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as, if a child is not watching television, then by default that child will be physically active,” said the study’s lead author, Tala Fakhouri, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Continue reading

Childs play helps combats obesity

Nov. 9, 2012, Voxy

Research published Nov. 9 in the New Zealand Medical Journal suggests that children can benefit more from active play compared to structured exercise.

“When it comes to combating obesity and increasing children’s daily physical activity levels, active play is just as important, if not more so, than structured exercise,” says Associate Professor Erica Hinckson from AUT University’s Centre for Child Health Research and Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition. Continue reading