Washington D.C. [US], Dec. 1 : According to a recent study, sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills during initial three school years in six to eight-year old boys.
The article has been published in the Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport. Conducted at the University of Eastern Finland, the study thus implies that sedentary lifestyle may impair academic performance in boys.
"Low levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and high levels of sedentary time in Grade 1 were related to better reading skills in Grades 1-3 among boys.
We also observed that boys who had a combination of low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary time had the poorest reading skills through Grades 1-3," explained Eero Haapala, the lead author of the study.
The study investigated the longitudinal associations of physical activity and sedentary time with reading and arithmetic skills in 153 children aged 6-8 years old in Grades 1-3 of the primary school.
Physical activity and sedentary time were measured objectively using a combined heart rate and movement sensor in Grade I and reading and arithmetic skills were assessed by standardised tests in Grades I-III.
It showed that high levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, low levels of sedentary time and particularly their combination in Grade I were related to better reading skills in Grades I-III in boys.
High levels of physical activity and low levels of sedentary time were also associated with better arithmetic skills in Grade I only in boys.
In girls, there were no strong and consistent associations of physical activity and sedentary time with reading or arithmetic skills.
Therefore, the results of the study suggest that a combination of low levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and high levels of sedentary time might be particularly harmful for the development of academic skills in boys, and that increasing physical activity, reducing sedentary time and especially their combination may improve academic achievement.