Study: Exercise improves decision-making, possibly math skills

Daily exercise for three months can improve the brain function of overweight children, according to a new study of 200 overweight, inactive 7- to 11-year-olds that was presented this week at The Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting. "We hope these findings will help persuade policymakers, schools and communities that time spent being physically active enhances, rather than detracts from learning," said the study's lead investigator, Dr. Catherine Davis.

All the children learned about healthy nutrition and the benefits of physical activity. In addition, a third of the children exercised 20 minutes a day, and another third exercised for 40 minutes. During the exercise sessions, the children played running games and used hula hoops and jump ropes to get their heart rates to 79 percent of maximum -- considered a vigorous workout.

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