Kansas Study Links Fitness And Academic Performance | KCUR

Kansas Study Links Fitness And Academic Performance

Jan 31, 2014

Seaman Middle School students in Topeka, Kan., demonstrate fitness routines in the gymnasium.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News

A new study show that kids who are physically fit tend to also outperform their more sedentary peers in the classroom. The findings are from the first year of a new program called K-FIT.

The study involved more than 13,000 fourth through ninth graders, at more than 150 schools across Kansas during the 2011-2012 school year.

It cross-referenced their performance on a standardized fitness test against their performance on state assessments for reading and math. In general, those students who met the fitness standards were more likely than the others to exceed the reading and math performance standards.

“This, I think, clearly shows that the last thing we want to do is decrease physical activity during the school day," says Steve Coen, head of the Kansas Health Foundation, which funded both the study and the K-FIT program.

"We need to increase physical activity before school, during school, and after school. So, anything that we can do to increase physical activity during the school, we need to do.”

The K-FIT program is now in 650 schools. Coen’s goal is to increase that figure to 900 schools statewide.