The more energy kids burn, the better they learn

By Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP

Parents often worry (I am told) that reserving time for kids to be physically active reduces their time for studying and other academic pursuits, which will lead to poor grades, bad jobs, and eventual economic collapse.

Thankfully the evidence does not bear this out, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have produced the below infographic to illustrate that fact (click the image to be taken to the full-sized version on the “Burn to Learn” website).

The accompany text from the Burn to Learn website reads:

Did you know that teens who receive mostly A’s are almost twice as likely to get the CDC recommended daily 60 minutes of physical activity than teens who receive mostly Ds and Fs? Kids who perform better in school are more likely to be physically active on a regular basis. Adding physical activity to the school day can not only keep kids healthy, but also increase attention, behavior and positive attitudes leading to improved academic performance.

While physical activity doesn’t seem to detract from academic performance, one thing clearly does – screen time.  Our group published a systematic review last year that found that high levels of screen time were consistently associated with lower academic achievement and behavioural problems in school-aged children.  So if you want your kids to do well in school get them away from the TV and into some physical activity.  Simply taking them outside is probably a good place to start.


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The more energy kids burn, the better they learn by Obesity Panacea, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.