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Physical activity lifts grades and test scores

This CDC graphic shows the equation for health and academic success.

It’s time for parent-teacher conferences in some Alaska school districts, and that means focusing on school work and academic progress. But don’t forget to talk about your child’s physical activity, too.

It turns out that recess, PE and after-school activities like dance, sports and gardening can play a big role in academic performance. Kids who do better in school are also more likely to be physically active on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, a 2013 report by the Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that children who are more active have greater attention, do simple tasks quicker, have better working memories and problem-solving skills, and do better on standardized tests than less active children.

So when looking at your child’s progress in reading, math, and language arts, also talk about how to integrate 60 minutes of physical play into every day. Does your child walk to and from school, go to gym class, jog with the dogs, or join in after-school programs that get them moving?

How can you spend more time hiking, moving and playing with your children? Families that get active together get healthy together. What you do with your child counts.

Find out more through the CDC’s “The More They Burn the Better They Learn” material, and check out Alaska’s Healthy Futures Challenge as a way to jumpstart an active life with your children.