Fit For School: Junior School Kids Have Better Chance Of Good Grades If They Play More Sports
Physically fit elementary and middle-school students are more likely to earn higher grades than children who play fewer sports.
A new study by Germany’s Technical University of Munich found a statistically valid connection between exercise and academic achievement for pre-teen aged children. Moving more gave children the ability to concentrate more and produced a higher overall feeling of wellbeing — the building blocks for succeeding in school.
And although the benefits of sports have been demonstrated in numerous studies, the research team at the Technical University of Munich has taken this further with proof of the correlation between physical fitness, concentration and health-related quality of life for primary school students.
The study involved 3,285 girls and 3,248 boys from Bavaria’s Berchtesgadener Land district. The key criteria were physical strength and endurance, the ability to concentrate, and health-related quality of life, as determined by the scientists according to internationally standardized test procedures.
The results of the study show that the higher the level of children’s physical fitness, the better they can concentrate and the higher their health-related quality of life. While the boys did better on the fitness tests, the girls performed better in terms of concentration and quality-of-life values.
At the same time, in all tests for physical fitness, overweight and obese children had significantly poorer results than underweight children and children with normal body weight. Obese children also had significantly poorer values for health-related quality of life, physical well-being and self-esteem, as well as well-being in friendships and at school.
Another important result of the study, according to Professor Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, is that “primary school pupils with good physical fitness and a good ability to concentrate are more likely to make it to secondary grammar schools.” Prof. Oberhoffer-Fritz holds the Technical University of Munich’s Chair of Preventive Paediatrics and is Dean of its Department of Sport and Health Sciences.
Prof. Oberhoffer-Fritz added: “This means it’s all the more important to encourage motor development in children at an early stage, since this can also have a positive impact on the development of mental fitness.
“Collaboration among parents, schools, communities and athletic clubs is very important when it comes to creating a comprehensive and appropriate range of possibilities.”
Dr. Thorsten Schulz, head of the study team at the Technical University of Munich, said: “Based on the results of the study, since 2019 the Berchtesgadener Land District Administration Office has been giving all first-grade pupils in the region a voucher for a one-year membership in a sports club.”