A study of de-identified data from 13,000 Kansas students in grades 4-9 finds a link between physical fitness and performance on standardized math and reading tests in the state.
The Kansas Health Foundation funded the study that used data during the 2011-2012 school year. The study linked five fitness test results using an assessment tool called FitnessGram with academic performance. FitnessGram tests measure aerobic capacity, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility to determine if students are in a healthy fitness zone for their age and gender, according to the Kansas Department of Education and the Department of Health and Environment.
In students meeting fitness standards for zero or one of the five tests, 50.4 percent scored above standard on reading assessments and 41.8 percent were above standard on math. Of those students meeting all five fitness tests, 73.5 percent were above standard on reading and 70.3 percent above standard on math.
The Kansas Health Foundation funds the Kansas Fitness Information Tracking program that tracks fitness levels, reading and math scores, absences and demographic information for statistical analysis. The program is available to up to 900 schools and more than 650 are participating. More information on the program and the study is available here.
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