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"Students Boost Activity To Keep Up With Friends"

The Time (5/25, Rochman) "Healthland" blog reported that according to a study in Pediatrics, "the single biggest influence on kids' physical activity levels was the exercise habits of their six closest friends." Researchers "studied networks of friends in an after-school program involving students ages five to 12. Using a pedometer-like device that recorded minute muscle movements, the researchers tracked kids' physical activity levels over a period of 12 weeks." The researchers "were able to track how the youngsters made and dropped friends, and what effect these changing relationships had on their physical activity level."

Reuters (5/29, Pittman) reports that those who were less active became more active if they made friends who were more active than they. The study covered 81 students aged five to 12.

The CNN (5/29, Caruso) "The Chart" blog reports, "While children do not make or break friendships based on physical activity, a new study suggests their social network of friends can greatly influence how much they move."
HealthDay (5/29, Dotinga) reports, "The findings don't prove that friends directly affect how active kids are, and it's not clear whether there's enough of an impact to make a difference in obesity or activity levels throughout the day."

MedPage Today (5/29, Phend) reports, "Kids consistently altered their activity level by 10% or more to match their friends."
WebMD (5/29, Boyles) reports, "Children in social groups that included others who were physically active were six times more likely to be physically active themselves."

In Small Study, Students With Enhanced Physical Education Had Improved Grades. HealthDay(5/28, Preidt) reported, "Boosting students' levels of physical education improves their grades," according to a study of 200 Swedish "schoolchildren, starting from first through third grade, for nine years. Some children were assigned to an intervention group that received physical education five days a week, plus extra training in motor-physical skills such as balance and coordination," while the others "received usual levels of physical education." The results were that "96 percent of students in the intervention group achieved grades that made them eligible to advance to upper-secondary school, compared with 89 percent of students in the control group.



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