12 Minutes of Aerobic Exercise Can Boost Low-Income College Students Academic Performance

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The consequences of income inequality are felt widely by children and adolescents, including health, social and educational issues. The educational gap between children of low- and high-income families has grown by more than 40% since 1960. Low-income students are more likely to fall behind in high school graduation rates, grade point average and SAT scores, college admissions, enrollment and even graduation.

Researchers are now dedicating resources to try to identify the multitude of reasons this occurs and possible interventions. Studies have shown that low-income students are at risk for a variety of attention deficit skills, including selective visual attention. Selective visual attention is the ability to remain visually focused on something despite distractions.

Researchers have shown visual attention improves after aerobic exercise in low-income children, however they have not proven it in adolescents or correlated to improved academic success. The reason that adolescents need to be studied separately is their visual attention skills have reached a more mature level and may be less responsive to aerobic exercise.