January 18, 2013
Is is a well known fact that our population is getting fatter and kids are no exception. Childhood obesity has risen dramatically over the last decade. As most of us know the rise in video games and junk food are probably the two most important components to this epidemic. Kids do not play outside like they used to.
The Center for Disease Control says that adults and children should engage in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. How many Americans are doing that? According to many studies there is a direct correlation between the amount of exercise a child does and his/her cognitive performance which translates into higher grades in school.
There is also a link between improved cognition and vitamin D levels. Although these studies have been done on adults it is not a far stretch to extend the same results to children. So the more children (and adults) are outside playing the more vitamin D they will make.
When I tell my kids to go outside to play they may fuss at first but within minutes they have made up their own game to play and are laughing and running around having a blast.
Exercise improves executive function and achievement and alters brain activation in overweight children: a randomized, controlled trial. Health Psychol. 2011 Jan;30(1):91-8.
Exercise and Children's Intelligence, Cognition, and Academic Achievement. Educ Psychol Rev. 2008 Jun 1;20(2):111-131.
Effects of aerobic exercise on overweight children's cognitive functioning: a randomized controlled trial. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2007 Dec;78(5):510-9.