New evidence supports the value of physical education programs for kids, not only for physical health, but also for cognitive health. Consistent participation for several months in activities such as aerobics, ball games and tag improved cognitive function among school-age children who performed poorly on a cognitive skills test before the activities. Three studies included 292 children ages 9–13 with a broad range of cognitive performance. Researchers from Japan, the U.S. and Switzerland reported their findings in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (2020; 9 [7]).

“Previous studies looked at the issue too broadly,” said study author Keita Kamijo, PhD, associate professor at the University of Tsukuba. “When we broke down the data, we were able to see that physical activity helps children the most if they start out with poor executive function. Because the cognitive functions evaluated in our study are related to academic performance, we can say that daily physical activity is critical for school-aged children.”

See also: Kids’ Inactivity: A Global Crisis