Recent Study Finds Girls that are Active Make Better Grades
Is your little girl the type that sits on the couch watching the latest episode of “iCarly,” or the type that’s out there playing soccer with her friends? The latter may lead to a smarter child based on new research from Sweden. Keep reading to find out more about this recent study.
The more active girls are, the better their grades according to recent research. The studies were conducted to determine how the level of physical activity correlates to academic performance across a variety of subject areas.
The study was conducted by Dr. Lydia Kwak of the Karolinska Institute in Huddigne, Sweden. Dr. Kwak and her colleagues took a look at the connections between light, moderate and what they called “vigorous” activity and performance in school. The studies were conducted on both boys and girls, and there were 232 students in the study overall. About 52 percent of the study participants were girls. On average, the students in the study were 16 years of age, and the typical student was in the 9th grade.
The study gauged academic performance across a wide array of subject areas, including science, math, language, history and others. Meanwhile, physical activity levels were measured by attaching a device called an accelerometer, which measures footsteps in a fashion similar to a pedometer. The students wore the devices for four days in a row, including at least one weekend day. The overall fitness levels were also measured for all of the students. This was done by placing the students on stationary bikes and measuring their performance in timed tests.
One of the results of the study was that boys spent more time doing moderate activities than did girls. The study determined that girls spent an average of 69 minutes in such activity, while boys spent about 81 minutes a day in moderate exercise. Moderate exercise was defined at activities like hiking, rollerblading, and skateboarding, while vigorous activity was defined as running, basketball, soccer and tennis.
The study sought to eliminate other determinates of academic performance from the equation in order to isolate the effects of physical activity on school performance. Such social and family factors were accounted for in the analysis of the results, and did have a bearing on the results.
The study of course does not provide a causal relationship, nor was it designed to do that. Some studies study correlative effectives, others look at causality; this study was the former. So while the studies conclude that there is a relationship between levels of physical activity and performance in the school, it does not say anything about whether one necessarily causes the other.
In fact, it could just as easily be the other way around. It could be that achieving high levels of performance at school drives the need to have more physical activity, or it makes that activity more enjoyable. Regardless, this research provides an interesting correlation and makes a case for increasing and improving the amount of physical activity in young students.