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Recent Study Suggests Physical Education Helps Students with ADHD

Recent Study Suggests Physical Education Helps Students with A.D.H.D.

How physical are your school's physical education classes?

The prevelance of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has increased among American children, said a recent New York Times article. Recent research suggests that small amounts of exercise can enable children to focus more in class and improve academic performance. A study published last year in The Journal of Pediatrics recruited 40 8-to-10-year-old boys and girls, half with ADHD, and set them up to take a set of computerized academic and attentional tests. 

Children were placed into groups where they either sat and read for 20 minutes or used a treadmill for 20 minutes to jog or walk. Electrode worn by the children recorded "electrical activity in the brain as they repeated the original tests."

The article suggests that these results "should make administrators question the wisdom of cutting P.E. classes." All children showed improvements on their math and reading comprehension after the exercise, and those with ADHD were better able to regulate their behavior, which helped them pay attention to their work. 

“In terms of a nonpharmacological means of dealing with attentional-control problems in children, exercise looks as if it could be quite beneficial,” said Charles Hillman, the professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois who oversaw the study, as reported in the Times article. “Especially since it seems to also improve the academic performance of children who don’t have attentional-control problems.”

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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