Transcript for Research links physical activity in children to higher academic performances

Xt1 plain I love how we say polite applause. Back now with the important new study on kids’ health first reported in “The New York Times” magazine about how getting your kids to exercise may hel boost their grades. That’s right. Daily exercise has been shown to reduce an important kind of fat and could help your brain power so let’s bring in Dr. Jennifer Ashton who says this is the real deal. Really interesting study. They looked at school-age children ages 8 to 10 about 400 of them divided them into two groups. Half of them got five days a week about two hours a day of physical activity. Moderate physical activity. You know, the kind you would get playing on a playground. The other half did their routine Normal stuff. They did not change their diet. About half of the children in this study were overweight or obese and the findings were significant. The group that exercised not only lost weight which we expect, they lost that dangerous belly fat or visceral fat and those kids performed better on cognitive testing. Again you expect the number on the scale to go down. You don’t expect the number on the test to go up and this study really points to that relationship between that dangerous visceral fat and the way our brains function. Wow. Do we know the mechanism that connects losing weight to — We don’t yet. That’s the million dollar question but there are a couple of theories. Number one that visceral fat, we heard exercise, even a little bit 20 minutes a day talking about for kids or teenagers increases powerhouse, mitochondria from our biology class and decreases body fat and fat is active and reduces inflammation also so all of these theories are being looked at. What suggestions do you have to parents to get their kids moving? Oh, boy, everyone has to find what works for them. I think the first thing any parent or educator will say we have to lead by example. It’s no longer sufficient to tell our kids you have to do this but we’ll do something else. I think family contests based on activity is something that could be fun. You know, you could set a chart and put on the refrigerator and give rewards to someone who wins. Sports league, fitness classes, they’re all over the place and I think it would be fun to do your own experiment in your own house and say we’ll do this for a couple of hours a day, let’s see, not only who loses weight and looks better but who does better in school. Yeah. I think this is — we’ll hear a lot more about this type of research and the brain fat connection is just as important as what we look like. Uh-huh. I love that, though. Really important. Coming up a remarkable story.

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