1. In-Shape Kids outperform their overweight peers on tests
According to a University of Michigan study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, “[Health-related fitness] was related to academic achievement in youth. Students with the highest fitness level performed better on standardized tests and students with the lowest fitness level performed lower in class grades.” The subjects for this study were 312 middle school students whose grades and test scores over the course of an academic year were compared to five aspects of physical fitness.
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2. Skipping breakfast impacts school performance
In May, a study published in Mind, Brain, and Education showed that adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 who chronically skipped breakfast had attention problems and ended up with lower grades than those who ate breakfast every morning. In September The Wall Street Journal reported on an appetite study which showed that girls suffered the most from school focus problems related to not eating breakfast. These kinds of studies should put to rest any complaints about free breakfasts in the classrooms. Even if some children are eating twice, it’s important to make sure no child goes hungry.
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3. Healthy School Lunches Were Not Warmly Embraced
Following several months of listening to students complain about being hungry after eating their new lunch, and listening to schools complain about the trouble they faced buying the right portion sizes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture relaxed the rules a bit. According toReuters, the modified healthier school meals, which were launched at the beginning of the 2012 school year, will no longer (for the time being) have daily or weekly restrictions on meats and grains. The health benefits from having a lower caloric meal remain intact.
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4. Yoga Has a Positive Psychological Impact on High School Kids
The benefit of yoga on our minds and bodies is no secret, however a recent study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics suggests that yoga is particularly beneficial to high school students.
The study says, "Yoga may play a preventative role in adolescent mental health." As Science Daily points out, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety typically develop during the teenage years.
The study was done at a Massachusetts high school. Out of 51 students, two-thirds took part in yoga classes while the rest took basic PE.
The majority of teens taking yoga showed improvements in negative emotions and anxiety issues. With results like this, perhaps yoga should be an option for students at schools across the country.
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5. Recess has Real Value
As the importance of physical exercise and stress release becomes more apparent, some schools—such as those in Chicago—have reintroduced recess to a generation of children who have never learned how to play Four Square or do tricks on the jungle gym.
Kristin Kloberdanz is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She has written for Time, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes.com about everything from economic crises and political snafus to best summer beach reads.