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Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness
Date:9/15/2010

t the physically fit children tended to have bigger hippocampal volume about 12 percent bigger relative to total brain size than their out-of-shape peers.

The children who were in better physical condition also did better on tests of relational memory the ability to remember and integrate various types of information than their less-fit peers.

"Higher fit children had higher performance on the relational memory task, higher fit children had larger hippocampal volumes, and in general, children with larger hippocampal volumes had better relational memory," Chaddock said.

Further analyses indicated that a bigger hippocampus boosted performance on the relational memory task.

"If you remove hippocampal volume from the equation," Chaddock said, "the relationship between fitness and memory decreases."

The new findings suggest that interventions to increase childhood physical activity could have an important effect on brain development, Kramer said.

"We knew that experience and environmental factors and socioeconomic status all impact brain development," he said.

"If you get some lousy genes from your parents, you can't really fix that, and it's not easy to do something about your economic status. But here's something that we can do something about," Kramer said.


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Contact: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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