A lack of physical activity among boys may result in them falling behind in reading and maths at school, according to new research.
A study of 153 primary school children aged between six and eight years old in grades one to three found that high levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and low levels of sedentary time in the first grade were related to better reading skills between grades one and three.
High levels of exercise and less sedentary behaviour was also associated with boys having better maths skills in grade one.
Researchers at University of Eastern Finland, in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Cambridge, found that boys who had little exercise and lots of sedentary time had the poorest reading skills through grades one to three.
However, the amount of sedentary time and physical activity among girls showed little association in terms of reading or maths performance.
The researchers, who had their study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport, said: “There is some evidence that higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of sedentary time are associated with better brain structures and functions in children.
“Moreover, low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time, particularly TV watching, have been linked to poorer academic achievement in children.”
They added: “Physical activity and sedentary time likely have similar effects on the brain in girls and in boys, but other factors, such as parental educational support, peer acceptance, teachers’ positive attitude for the student, and children’s motivation towards school are more important correlates of academic achievement than physical activity and sedentary time among girls.”
Source: Leisure Opportunities