The Relationship Between Low-Income and Minority Children's Physical Activity and Academic-Related Outcomes: A Review of the Literature

California State University, Northridge, CA, USA.
Health Education & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.23). 02/2011; 38(5):441-51. DOI: 10.1177/1090198110375025
Source: PubMed


This article explores an innovative strategy for battling the obesity epidemic. The strategy involves demonstrating to policy makers and education leaders the value of promoting physical activity in school as a way of enhancing academic-related outcomes to narrow the current achievement gap. A literature review was conducted to ascertain the feasibility of this strategy. Seven studies that examined the relationship between physical activity or fitness and academic-related outcomes were reviewed. Although more research is needed in this area, the majority of the articles reviewed found that regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnicity, a positive relationship exists between physical activity and academic-related outcomes. These findings suggest that integrating more physical activity into the school day may be an effective strategy to reduce both health disparities and the achievement gap.

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    ABSTRACT: To examine the impact of state- and school district-level policies on the prevalence of physical education (PE) and recess in a nationally representative sample of US public elementary schools. Analyses from annual, nationally representative, cross-sectional surveys of school administrators in the United States. Data were collected through surveys conducted between February and June during the 2006-2007 through 2008-2009 school years. State laws and district policies were compiled annually by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago using established legal research techniques. The sample size was 47 states, 690 districts, and 1761 schools. State- and school district-level PE and recess-related laws. Twenty minutes of daily recess and 150 min/wk of PE. The odds of schools having 150 min/wk of PE increased if they were located in states (odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% CI, 1.3-5.7) or school districts (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.3-4.3) having a law or policy requiring 150 min/wk of PE. Schools located in states with laws encouraging daily recess were significantly more likely to have 20 minutes of recess daily (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.8). District policies were not significantly associated with school-level recess practices. Adequate PE time was inversely associated with recess and vice versa, suggesting that schools are substituting one form of physical activity for another rather than providing the recommended amount of both recess and PE. By mandating PE or recess, policy makers can effectively increase school-based physical activity opportunities for youth.
    JAMA Pediatrics 12/2011; 166(4):311-6. DOI:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1133 · 5.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As the focus on academic achievement has increased, physical activity opportunities in schools have decreased in the United States. In an attempt to discover how the decline in physical activity may affect academic achievement, researchers have been studying the effects of physical activity on cognition and academic achievement in children for more than fifty years. This review takes a historical perspective on the science of physical activity and academic achievement prior to and during the past five years. A total of 125 published articles were included and reviewed. Fifty-three of these articles were published in the past five years. In recent years, the overall quality of the studies has increased, but the results continue to be inconsistent. Many use cross-sectional designs and the methods vary substantially. The majority of conclusions show a positive effect of physical activity on constructs related to academic achievement. Future studies should use strong study designs to examine the types and doses of physical activity needed to produce improvements in academic achievement.
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