Physical activity (PA) (i.e., physical education, sport, exercise) may positively influence psychophysical health and development of children. Physical health benefits, such as improved muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and skill development derive from practicing PA. However, the benefits of an active lifestyle for youth are not restricted to physical health. Indeed, the positive effects of different kinds of PA on cognitive and executive functioning of children have been demonstrated in a variety of studies that show that higher levels of PA are associated with better cognitive functioning, and with enhanced executive functioning in particular. In addition, PA offers youth opportunities for enjoying experiences, enhancing positive emotional states, increasing self-efficacy and well-being. Although PA can be a vehicle for health enhancement and psychophysical development, in recent years Italian children have increased rates of sedentary behavior, overweight, and obesity. For this reason, several projects aimed at promoting PA and sports at school for children have been started up during recent years, supporting the idea that school can serve as a privileged context for the health promotion policies for youth.
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