Physical fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children

Department of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, USA.
Journal of physical activity & health (Impact Factor: 1.95). 01/2009; 6(1):99-104. DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000274573.54238.aa
Source: PubMed


The benefits of physical fitness are widely acknowledged and extend across many domains of wellness. The association between fitness and academic achievement, however, remains to be clarified, especially in young children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.
Data were collected from 134 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children. One-mile run time, body mass index, curl-up, and sit-and-reach data were collected from physical education instructors in Middle Tennessee. The percentage of questions answered correctly for the mathematics and reading/language arts sections of the TerraNova achievement test was taken as a measure of academic achievement.
A negative association (P<.01) was noted between 1-mile run times and mathematics scores (r=-.28), whereas a positive relationship (P<.05) was observed between muscular fitness and mathematics scores (r=.20). Relative to sex differences, inverse relationships (P<.05) were observed between 1-mile run times and reading/language arts and mathematics scores in girls (r=-.31 and -.36, respectively), but no significant associations were evident in boys.
Results from this study support a link between specific components of physical fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.

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Available from: Jennifer L Caputo, Dec 15, 2014
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    • "Despite the fact that several studies have found relationships between cardiorespiratory fitness, weight status and academic performance [9,10,22,26], most of these studies did not take into consideration their dynamic changes over time in different cohorts, and the possible relationship between academic achievement and the combined association of cardiorespiratory fitness/weight status. These types of studies are important because they allow establishing a better outcome than studies with one cohort sample. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background In addition to the benefits on physical and mental health, cardiorespiratory fitness has shown to have positive effects on cognition. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and body weight status on academic performance among seventh-grade students. Methods Participants included 1531 grade 7 students (787 male, 744 female), ranging in age from 12 to 14 years (Mage = 12.3 ± 0.60), from 3 different cohorts. Academic performance was measured using the marks students had, at the end of their academic year, in mathematics, language (Portuguese), foreign language (English), and sciences. To assess cardiorespiratory fitness the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run, from Fitnessgram, was used as the test battery. The relationship between academic achievement and the independent and combined association of cardiorespiratory fitness/weight status was analysed, using multinomial logistic regression. Results Cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status were independently related with academic achievement. Fit students, compared with unfit students had significantly higher odds for having high academic achievement (OR = 2.29, 95% CI: 1.48-3.55, p < 0.001). Likewise, having a normal weight status was also related with high academic achievement (OR = 3.65, 95% CI: 1.82-7.34, p < 0.001). Conclusions Cardiorespiratory fitness and weight status were independently and combined related to academic achievement in seventh-grade students independent of the different cohorts, providing further support that aerobically fit and normal weight students are more likely to have better performance at school regardless of the year that they were born.
    BMC Pediatrics 07/2014; 14(1):176. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-14-176 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Studies looking at math and reading with older children show that children who participate in more vigorous activity and those who are physically fit have higher math and reading scores (C. L. Davis et al., 2011; Eveland-Sayers et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research Findings: The present study investigated whether active play during recess was associated with self-regulation and academic achievement in a prekindergarten sample. A total of 51 children in classes containing approximately half Head Start children were assessed on self-regulation, active play, and early academic achievement. Path analyses indicated that higher active play was associated with better self-regulation, which in turn was associated with higher scores on early reading and math assessments. Practice or Policy: Results point to the benefits of active play for promoting self-regulation and offer insight into possible interventions designed to promote self-regulation and academic achievement.
    Early Education and Development 01/2014; 25(1):56-70. DOI:10.1080/10409289.2013.780505 · 0.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The potential for physical activity and fitness to improve cognitive function, learning and academic achievement in children has received attention by researchers and policy makers. This paper reports a systematic approach to identification, analysis and review of published studies up to early 2009. A three-step search method was adopted to identify studies that used measures of physical activity or fitness to assess either degree of association with or effect on a) academic achievement and b) cognitive performance. A total of 18 studies including one randomised control trial, six quasi-experimental and 11 correlational studies were included for data extraction. No studies meeting criteria that examined the links between physical activity and cognitive function were found. Weak positive associations were found between both physical activity and fitness and academic achievement and fitness and elements of cognitive function, but this was not supported by intervention studies. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that additional physical education time increases academic achievement; however there is no evidence that it is detrimental. The quality and depth of the evidence base is limited. Further research with rigour beyond correlational studies is essential.
    International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology 09/2009; 2(2):198-214. DOI:10.1080/17509840903233822 · 3.35 Impact Factor
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