Free Research Paper On Does Student Health And Fitness Affect Their GPA?
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For many students, the very idea of health and wellness is a topic that must be avoided at all cost. These students believe that any for form of mandated physical assertion is strenuous. But, how helpful is health and wellness in learning? For many parents in the world, education is the most important aspect of the school system as they believe that children must maintain good grades in order to meet their demands. As a result, these parents discourage all forms of additional physical activities that relate to health and wellness as they believe that such programs serve as a detractor for their children. Still, there are parents who believe that the holistic development of their children can be attributed to the health and wellness of the child. The truth is that exercise in any form helps to relax the mind and in turn gives students the opportunity to develop their academic performance. Health activities further promote better energy and do not drain one of the energy that is necessary for academic concentration.
Analysis of social dimensions of health and grades
Yu et al carried out a study on the compatibility between physical activities and academic performance and found that “parental and societal emphases on academic achievement have placed great pressure on Chinese children in Hong Kong,” (Yu et al., 2006). In fact, the study further shows that a number of parents see academic achievement as the fundamental indicator of success and as such these parents cannot accept the benefits of psychological and physical development in children, (Yu et al., 2006). Children are often rewarded for their outstanding academic performance, but are seen as rebellious and inattentive when they perform poorly in their academics, (Salili & Hau, 1994 as cited by Yu et al., 2006). The authors examined the general assumption that academic performance is positively related to conduct, but negatively related to the level of physical activity in students, (Yu et al., 2006). The findings suggest that students performance is not directly connected the child’s academinc performance, but instead it is related to the different emotional and behavioral disorders that many students face in their personal lives, (Yu et al., 2006).
Trudeau and Shephard’s quasi-experimental research reveal that by giving students an additional hour per day of physical activity program cannot influence the academic performance of students in a negative way, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008) even though such activities lead to a reduction in the time allowed for strict academic subjects. In addition, the overwhelmingly majority of these programs demonstrated an enhancement in some form of physical fitness, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008). The findings further reveal that there is cross-sectional observations that presents a positive connection between one’s academic performance and physical activities, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008), but physical fitness does not appear to reveal this form of association, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008). The authors conclude that physical activities takes time from other subjects, but does not jeopardize the academic achievement of the student, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008). But, “adding time to "academic" or "curricular" subjects by taking time from physical education programs does not enhance grades in these subjects and may be detrimental to health,” (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008).
In recent years, there have been a number of studies that reflect the views of the media and points out that physical activities have a positive impact on the student’s memory and learning process. But, one must be cognizant of the fact that not all students enjoy physical activities and as such they become distant and lose their academic focus when they recognize that they are forced into carrying out any form of physical activities. Some students will hide away from school on the days when they are forced to carry out physical activities and this undoubtedly impacts their academic performance in school. But, these children cannot understand that there is a positive association between physical activities and cognitive health in young students. The cognitive functions of children are important as it increases the potential arguments that physical fitness does not decrease the academic progress of the child, and reduces the rate of disruptive behaviors in school and the drop-out from educational program, (Trudeau & Shephard, 2008).
Ryska believes that one of the most popular topics in sport psychology researches is the way in which participation in competitive sports influence the development of the individual’s cognitive skills and behavior outside of sports, (Ryska, n.d.). Nonetheless, there are only a few studies that truly show the relationship between students’ academic performance and their participation in sports, (Ryska, n.d.). In fact, many researchers have tried to connect educational aspirations to academic self-esteem and school related achievement in children, but have found that their findings are inconsistent, (Ryska, n.d).
The lack of physical activities has led to a variety of serious consequences as it relates to children's overall health and well-being. In fact, some studies reveal that physical inactivity is linked to obesity in children and an increase in cardiovascular disease in children, (Coe, et al., 2013). There is no doubt that physical fitness is important to children as there is a “multidimensional construct encompassing five components: cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition,” (Coe, et al., 2013). Additionally, Coe et al believes that the increase in the levels of physical fitness enhances the total health package and is closely linked to the academic achievement of students. The findings in the study are important as they reinforce the common belief that students who are physically perform better academically than those who are not. The findings are supported by a number of standardized tests and their overall academic grades. Of course, one may argue that physically fitness programs are time consuming and children who participate in these activities spend less time on their academics. But, that argument is flawed as physical fitness does not have to be time consuming.
There are limits to the amount of time that one spends on physical fitness programs. Children in schools only need an hour or so of physical fitness activities to release the many socio-economic and academic stress factors that they may encounter. Coe et al. finds that the socio-economic status and physical fitness are directly connected to the academic achievement of the student, (Coe, et al., n.d.). Nonetheless, there are mixed results in these researches and the 2005 metaphysical study carried out by Sirin reflects that there is a strong relationship between the socioeconomic status of the child and the academic performance of the child, (Sirin as cited by Coe et al., 2013). On the other hand researches relating to the impact of the socio-economic status on physical fitness show a lack of significance in children, (Coe et al., 2013). Either way, there is no direct harm to children if they participate in physical fitness program.
London and Castrechini reinforces the views that the rates in childhood obesity have tripled in the last four decades, (London and Castrechini , 2011) as the most recent statistics show that approximately thirty percent the children in the United States between the ages of two to nineteen have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that classifies them as being overweight or obese, (London and Castrechini , 2011). The greatest concern in these cases is the fact that these findings may be related to the presence of the social and economic inequalities that exist in the society. London and Castrechini based their theory on the established link between health and learning, because of the inequality that comes with the academic achievement gap, (London and Castrechini , 2011). The growing literature on the link between physical fitness or obesity and the academic achievement of the child come by way of the various studies that have been carried out between 1994 and 2004. A number of these studies show that there is a negative connection between the two variables, (London and Castrechini , 2011). Nevertheless, other cross-sectional studies reinforce the idea that there is a positive link between academi achievement and physical fitness despite the variations in the findings, (London and Castrechini, 2011).
There is a strong need to improve the overall academic performance of children at every level of the curriculum. As a result, educators have looked at the need to incorporate physical activities and fitness programs that will decrease the poor nutritional diets in students and increase the academic performance in these children. The harsh reality is that a physically lazy child can become and academically lazy child as there is often a negative relationship between academic performance and poor fitness. The belief that by reducing the amount of physical activity sessions and extending the time for academic activities is greater in schools that are deemed to be high-poverty schools. But, the reality is that these children are not fortunate to have a home program that foster fitness program and as such they become unfit and unable to function effectively in the classrooms. Chen et al., believes that there is a strong possibility that educators and caregivers need to maintain a high level of physical fitness as it helps to improve the academic performance of schoolchildren, (Chen, et al., 2013).
In concluding, there is a direct connection between physical fitness and academic achievement in children. The social factors contribute to the overall development of children and impact the leaning process. Students from low socio-economic backgrounds face a number of social and psychological problems and find that stress accounts for their poor performance in school. Physical fitness programs, when applied in small doses, help children to challenge the anger and frustration that they feel in a different direction. Their self-esteem and self-confidence grows as they find an avenue to socialize and share the burden they carry in their personal lives. This holistic approach helps the child to refocus on the importance of learning and in turn improve their academic performance.
Chen, Li-Jung et al. (2013) Fitness Change and Subsequent Academic Performance in
Adolescents Journal of School Health September 2013, Vol. 83, No. 9 Web, April 8, 2015
Coe, Dawn P. et al., (2013) Physical Fitness, Academic Achievement, and Socioeconomic Status
in School-Aged Youth Sch Health. 2013; 83: 500-507.
London, Rebecca & Castrechini, Sebastian A Longitudinal Examination of the Link Between
Youth Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement, Journal of School Health July 2011, Vol. 81, No. 7, Web Accessed April 8, 2015
Ryska, Todd A. (n.d.) Sport Involvement and Perceived Scholastic Competence in Student
Athletes: A Multivariate. Web, April 7, 2015
Trudeau, Francis & Roy J. Shephard, (2008) Physical Education, School Physical Activity,
Yu C.C.W et al., (2006) Are Physical Activity and Academic Performance Compatible?
Academic Achievement, Conduct, Physical Activity and Self-Esteem of Hong Kong Chinese Primary School Children, Educational Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4, December 2006, pp. 331–341, ISSN 0305-5698 (print)/ISSN 1465-4300 (online). Web. April 7, 2015
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