A new study says youngsters need more activities in school to help them manage stress and anxiety. The Tulane study used a New Orleans grade school for the study.

Principal author Alessandra Bazzano  says a third grade class was chosen for the study, since that's a critical time for youngsters when the demands of school are tougher for them.

The study says youngsters can benefit from taking part in yoga which can ease stress and anxiety.  Results of the study were published in the journal Psychology Research and Behavior Management.  

The 3rd graders were screened for symptoms of anxiety at the beginning of the school year and then each child was assigned to two groups. A control group of 32 students received care as usual, which included counseling and other activities led by a school social worker.

The intervention group of 20 students participated in small group yoga/mindfulness activities for eight weeks using a Yoga Ed curriculum. Students attended the small group activities at the beginning of the school day. The sessions included breathing exercises, guided relaxation and several traditional yoga poses appropriate for children. Researchers evaluated each group’s health-related quality of life before and after the intervention, using two widely recognized research tools.

“The intervention improved psychosocial and emotional quality-of-life scores for students, as compared to their peers who received standard care,” said principal author Alessandra Bazzano, associate professor of global community health and behavioral sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health.

We also heard from teachers about the benefits of using yoga in the classroom, and they reported using yoga more often each week, and throughout each day in class, following the professional development component of intervention.

Another study from Penn State says P.E. is something schools should get back to. One of the big benefits is a reduction in childhood obesity. This study offers some of the first evidence that physical education (PE) directly impacts the weight of elementary school children, say the researchers.