High levels of physical activity are associated with better reading and arithmetic skills in the first three school years among boys
A recent Finnish study shows that higher levels of physical activity are related to better academic achievement during the first three school years particularly in boys. The study published in PLOS ONE was conducted in collaboration with the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and the First Steps Study at the University of Jyväskylä.
The study investigated the relationships of different types of physical activity and sedentary behavior assessed in the first grade to reading and arithmetic skills in grades 1–3 among 186 Finnish children. Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1–3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys. Furthermore, boys who spent more time doing activities involving reading and writing on their leisure time had better reading skills compared to boys who spent less time doing those activities. Moreover, boys with more computer and video game time achieved higher arithmetic test scores than boys with less computer and video game time. 
In girls, there were only few associations of physical activity and sedentary behavior with academic achievement when various confounding factors were controlled for. 
The findings of the present study highlight the potential of physical activity during recess and participation in organized sports in the improvement of academic achievement in children. Particularly boys´ school success may benefit from higher levels of physical activity and active school transportation, reading and writing as well as moderate computer and video game use. 
Image: iStockphoto

High levels of physical activity are associated with better reading and arithmetic skills in the first three school years among boys

A recent Finnish study shows that higher levels of physical activity are related to better academic achievement during the first three school years particularly in boys. The study published in PLOS ONE was conducted in collaboration with the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland and the First Steps Study at the University of Jyväskylä.

The study investigated the relationships of different types of physical activity and sedentary behavior assessed in the first grade to reading and arithmetic skills in grades 1–3 among 186 Finnish children. Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1–3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys. Furthermore, boys who spent more time doing activities involving reading and writing on their leisure time had better reading skills compared to boys who spent less time doing those activities. Moreover, boys with more computer and video game time achieved higher arithmetic test scores than boys with less computer and video game time. 

In girls, there were only few associations of physical activity and sedentary behavior with academic achievement when various confounding factors were controlled for. 

The findings of the present study highlight the potential of physical activity during recess and participation in organized sports in the improvement of academic achievement in children. Particularly boys´ school success may benefit from higher levels of physical activity and active school transportation, reading and writing as well as moderate computer and video game use. 

Image: iStockphoto

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The European Journal of Integrative Medicine is seeking articles for its forthcoming special issues:

Diagnostic techniques and outcome measures for integrated health

"Integrative and traditional approaches to health often require specific measurement tools and to assess their effectiveness for research and clinical practice. In addition diagnosis used within these approaches is based on different theories and philosophies. A variety of tools and technologies can assist and validate these different diagnostic methods."

Full details: http://goo.gl/yidCZb

Paediatric integrative medicine

"Many children around the world use complementary, alternative, traditional, or indigenous therapies. Integrative approaches are used across the life span but ensuring health in the next generation of families and their children is critical for public health. Families often use traditional approaches to enhance well-being and general health, particularly when they cannot afford or access conventional medicine. Evidence about paediatric use is essential to inform policy and practice.”

Full details: http://goo.gl/cNFH0x

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Quote of the week! Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

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School gardens limited in improving children’s fruit and veg intake

Little evidence exists to suggest that school gardening initiatives alone improve children’s fruit and vegetable intake, research led by an academic at Leeds Metropolitan University has concluded.

Dr Meaghan Christian, a researcher in the Institute for Health & Wellbeing at Leeds Met - which will become Leeds Beckett University on 22 September -undertook two randomised controlled trials of primary school children aged 8-11 from eight London boroughs using the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening, to discover whether school gardening initiatives had any effect on a change in fruit and vegetable intake amongst the participating pupils. 

The study, published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Public Health Research concludes that school gardening alone cannot improve fruit and vegetable intake and highlights the need for more sophisticated and accurate tools to evaluate diet in children. 

Speaking about the findings, Dr Christian said: “Children’s fruit and vegetable intake in the UK is low and changing that intake can prove challenging. There is a suggestion that gardening in schools might be a vehicle for facilitating additional fruit and vegetable intake.

“For school gardening to improve children’s fruit and vegetable intake however, it needs to be successfully integrated into the school curriculum and environment. The results from this study suggest using a holistic approach and incorporating nutrition education or cooking along with parental involvement would be more likely to achieve higher consumption levels and increase children’s knowledge.”

Findings from the study also showed that eating a family meal together, cutting up fruit and vegetables, and parental modelling of fruit and vegetable intakes were all associated with higher intakes of fruit and vegetables in children. 

The research study is the first to use clustered randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of a gardening intervention to evaluate the impact of school gardening.  A 24-hour food diary [the Child and Diet Evaluation Tool (CADET)] collected information about dietary intake, whilst questionnaires measured children’s knowledge and attitudes towards fruit and vegetables. Changes in fruit and vegetable intake were analysed using a random effects model, based on intention to treat.

Previous research by Dr Christian demonstrated that eating meals together as a family, even if only twice a week, boosts children’s daily fruit and vegetable intake to near the recommended five a day.

The study of primary school-aged children, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme, also suggested parental consumption of fruit and vegetables and cutting up portions of these foods boosted children’s intake.

Dr Meaghan Christian’s research interest is in dietary assessment and the development of nutrition promoting interventions in primary school-aged children and adolescents.  

Image: Dollar Photo Club

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And the winners are…

The FHT is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 FHT Excellence in Practice and Education Awards.

Each award winner was presented with an FHT award, certificate and a £500 cheque at an exclusive presentation lunch at Coombe Abbey Hotel on 11 September, 2011, in front of an audience of distinguished guests.

Further information and official photographs to follow soon.

Excellence in Practice

Dr Carol Samuel, FFHT (Excellence in Practice - winner)
For her PhD, Carol carried out laboratory-based research into the effects of reflexology on acute pain in healthy human subjects. Carol is also the first non-medically qualified practitioner world-wide to achieve a PhD in reflexology.

The CALM Complementary Therapy Team, The Christie (Excellence in Practice - winner)
The team received an award for developing, delivering and researching the CALM project, which involves a team of complementary therapists providing innovative techniques and support to patients struggling with medical procedures for cancer.

Pip Bateman, MFHT (Excellence in Practice - winner)
Pip set up the Holistic Health Team, to make complementary therapies and holistic health activities accessible to disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Areas of work include with the homeless, young people, substance misuse, HIV, schools and organisations supporting people living with disabilities.

George Bate, MFHT (Excellence in Practice – highly commended)
George has worked as a volunteer complementary therapist at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary for 10 years, providing treatments to patients with cancer, carers and staff. With backing from staff and the Trust, he launched a Reiki Therapy Clinic in 2013, which is now being evaluated and researched by hospital consultants.

Excellence in Education

Dr Deepa Apte, FHT accredited course provider (Excellence in Education winner – Tutor of the Year)
Deepa has inspired and changed hundreds of lives across the world with her broad knowledge of ayurveda, and the depth and clarity with which she teaches. Many students have praised her for making the complex science of ayurveda easy to understand and relevant to a Western lifestyle or business context.

Zoe Warner, MFHT (Excellence in Education winner – Student of the Year)
Zoe continues to train to this day, in order to broaden her skills and support her two successful businesses. After her husband was injured in a roadside explosion while in the army, Zoe also founded Therapies4Forces, offering free therapy services to injured personnel, veterans and their carers and families.

For more information about the FHT Awards, please visit www.fht.org.uk/awards

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Quote of the week via FHT Member @catvipond

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

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September’s FHTNews is out! In our monthly e-newsletter, we update you about your membership and what’s happening in the therapy world.

Members, check your inbox for the latest news and information.

Images: Dollar Photo Club, FHT and iStockphoto

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Enterprise Nation has opened a dedicated small business space at Somerset House, London

The space will offer events, training and advice for the British entrepreneurial community.

The space is the vision of our founder Emma Jones MBE, and is part of a bid to transform the small business advice landscape while driving forward the British entrepreneurial economy.

Emma Jones said: 

“We want this space to not only be a permanent home for the 60K-strong Enterprise Nation community, we want to open it to thousands more small and creative businesses that are looking for practical advice, business support, finance and mentoring - and to meet each other on a more regular basis.”

Full details

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Quote of the week via FHT Member @teresa_rich

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

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Base Formula Consultant Aromatherapist and FHT Expert Adviser, Christine Fisk MFHT, writes about the use of black pepper essential oil for aches and pains on the Base Formula blog:

Black Pepper is part of the Piperaceae family, and is commonly known as Pepper oil. It’s native to South West India, and is obtained by steam distillation of the still green unripe berries. Black Pepper is composed mainly of monoterpenes (64%) and sesquiterpenes (22%) as well as a small percentage of alcohols, ketones and oxides. Monoterpenes are said to have slightly analgesic properties whilst sesquiterpenes are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. The aroma of Black Pepper is described as crisp and fresh and, I believe, is more suited for working on a physical rather than emotional level. The oil ranges from being clear, colourless to an olive green liquid, yellowing with age.

Full article 

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