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Exercise Helps Kids in the Classroom Too

With the obesity problem, particularly among our nation's children, reaching epidemic proportions, I've long advocated some form of daily exercise as an essential tool to bolster the optimal health of you and your family. According to the preliminary results of a new study, a growing number of parents may be actually turning off their TV sets for the better health of their kids.

Researchers found a strong link between academic scores and fitness. Running laps, researchers say, may not make children smarter, but it certainly made them process information faster and they better behaved than sedentary kids. And, by demonstrating a solid connection between good grades and exercise, researchers hope schools will begin to stop phasing out physical education classes.

One thing that will certainly help kids take better care of themselves: Parents being more aware how their personal life choices can have such a positive or negative effect on their children's health. Showing them how to make proper nutritional choices will not only severely decrease their chances of becoming obese, but are also likely to prevent them from a lifetime of chronic illnesses.

Dr. Ben Lerner and I will be writing a book later this year about this problem and hope to offer some very specific practical guidelines that should have a major impact on this epidemic.

Science Blog October 20, 2004

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