Time spent in PE benefits academic learning in girls

With the implementation of the Federal 'No Child Left Behind' regulations schools have been eliminating both physical education and recess citing the need for extended periods of instruction emphasizing math and reading skills. However, that may soon change. Results from a study released on April 2 indicates that a small but significant benefit for academic achievement in mathematics and reading was observed for girls enrolled in higher amounts (70-300 minutes per week) of physical education (referent: 0- 35 minutes per week). Higher amounts of physical education were not positively or negatively associated with academic achievement among boys.

It is an interesting finding given some educators have maintained that time spent in physical education was having an adverse effect on academic learning.

Public health officials have yet another view. Increasing physical activity through physical education is a proposed public health strategy to reduce childhood obesity. They maintain that school-based physical education has many benefits, including increasing physical activity and improving physical fitness and muscular endurance.

This study titled, Physical Education and Academic Achievement in Elementary School, supports findings from previous studies in which investigators concluded that time spent in physical education did not harm academic achievement and that it may have a modest favorable effect on achievement.

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