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Less Physical Activity Tied to Lagging Reading in Boys

Less Physical Activity Tied to Lagging Reading in Boys

Emerging research suggests little physical activity may leave six to eight year-old boys behind on their reading skills.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Cambridge, discovered sedentary behavior was linked to less than optimal academic performance in the first three school years.

The findings have been recently published in the Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport.

Researchers discovered high levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and low levels of sedentary time in first grade were related to better reading skills in grades one to three among boys.

Conversely, boys who had a combination of low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time had the poorest reading skills through grades one to three, said researcher Eero Haapala, Ph.D.

The review was a component of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study, conducted at the University of Eastern Finland.

In the study, investigators investigated the longitudinal associations of physical activity and sedentary time with reading and arithmetic skills in 153 children aged six to eight years old in grades one to three of the primary school.

Physical activity and sedentary time were measured objectively using a combined heart rate and movement sensor in grade one, and reading and arithmetic skills were assessed by standardized tests in grades one to three.

Interestingly, girls did not show a strong association between sedentary time and physical activity as related to performance of reading or arithmetic skills.

Researchers believe the findings suggest that promoting physically active lifestyle may kick-start boys’ school performance.

Source: University of Eastern Finland/EurekAlert

Less Physical Activity Tied to Lagging Reading in Boys

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Less Physical Activity Tied to Lagging Reading in Boys. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 1 Dec 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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