May 9, 2012 6:57 PM by Jenise Fernandez
Could exercise and eating right improve test scores? A report released by the UL Picard Center shows students who are fit tend to do better on standardized tests. This was part of a 12-parish pilot project allowing the Picard Center to assess physical fitness in schools and come up with a statewide plan. More than 100,000 school children from 300 schools across Louisiana participated during the 2010-2011 school year.
Researcher Dr. Joan Landry found unfit students have trouble paying attention in class and are more likely to miss school because of health issues.
"It's the same with adults, when we are healthier we tend to be more productive at our jobs," said Dr. Landry.
Dr. Landry's research has been ongoing for three years. Researchers measured students' body mass index, cardio fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility.
"When you're fit, you have better circulation so your memory improves," said Dr. Landry.
More research found students who passed the cardio portion scored an average of 16 points higher on English-Language standardized tests and 19 points higher in Math.
"There's a lot of reasons why a child does or doesn't do well on a test, this is simply looking at a relationship and not a cause and effect," said Dr. Landry.
Dr. Landry recommends certified teachers teach P.E. classes, P.E. should be every day, and students should move the entire length of class.
"Obesity is a very complex issue and so what happens in a P.E. class should be movement, we don't get fit in P.E. we learn motor skills to get fit," said Dr. Landry.