Physical fitness is associated with academic performance in young people, according to a study conducted by a West Virginia University researcher. Lesley Cottrell, Ph.D., said the study suggests that focusing more on physical fitness and physical education in school would result in healthier, happier and smarter children.

“As children’s health continues to be a concern – especially when it comes to obesity – some have suggested that children’s physical fitness is associated with their academic performance,” Cottrell, an associate professor of pediatrics at WVU, said. “The research, however, had not been developed enough to define the nature of that relationship.”

To study the association, Cottrell and colleagues examined the body mass index percentiles, fitness levels and standardized academic test scores of 725 fifth grade students in Wood County.

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