An article in USA Today reports on a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which shows that an increase in physical education classes in grade school can boost academic success, particularly for girls. This is interesting news given the trend in public schools to cut back on gym class to make the academic curriculum more rigorous for students.
The same boost to academic success was not seen in boys who were part of the study. Susan Carlson, a CDC epidemiologist and the lead author of the study, says that there is no evidence as to why that academic boost affected only girls, but speculated that "a higher level of physical activity might be needed to yield the same result because boys are commonly more active than girls." Except for the last part, which seems to based on Carlson's conjecture more than anything else, this is very interesting news, especially for educators looking for ways to defend gym class in the face of pressure to focus on more "academic" learning.