9 September 2019

Encouraging children to be more physically active does not always lead to better school performance

Based on a field experiment in Southern Limburg, researchers at Maastricht University and Fontys University of Applied Sciences have shown that encouraging children to increase their physical activity does not always lead to better school performance. Certain forms of physical activity stimulation can even lead to poorer school performance in the short term. Ten primary schools introduced the Active Living Programme for children between the ages of 8 and 12. The programme aimed at increasing physical activity during and outside of recess, as well as walking or cycling to school. The academic performance in schools with the Active Living Programme was compared with that of eleven control schools in which this programme was not implemented. This comparison shows that the academic performance of the schools with the Active Living Programme has fallen behind that of the schools without this programme.