A new British study has proven that girls who were more physically active at age 11 have higher levels of academic performance as teenagers — but the most active girls really aced science.
It's become pretty much a widely-known fact that children do better academically when they participate in regular sports or fitness, even though schools continue to cut or even eliminate recess time. But until a recent influx of studies on the issue, there has been little hard evidence to back it up.
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children — an investigation that used data from a study that has been following the health of a large group of parents and children since 1991 — measured almost 5,000 children's physical activity at age 11 by having them wear an acclerometer for a week.
Very few of the children were getting the recommended 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise. Boys clocked 29 minutes a day on average, while girls managed just 18 minutes. The more active the 11-year-olds were, the better they did on standardized school tests of English, math and science.
But the biggest surprise was that physically active girls were specifically much better at science than their peers. That held true for five years, when the children took other standardized tests at age 13 and 16.
While this study doesn't prove that the increased exercise was what improved the children's test scores, parents definitely aren't off base in thinking that physical activity helps. So what does this mean to you? Get your girls in the pool, on the track or in the batting cage – and get ready for that science fair blue ribbon.