Task Switching in Overweight Children: Effects of Acute Exercise and Age

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Philip D. Tomporowski University of Georgia

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Catherine L. Davis Medical College of Georgia

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Kate Lambourne University of Georgia

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Mathew Gregoski University of Georgia

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Joseph Tkacz Medical College of Georgia

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The short-term aftereffects of a bout of moderate aerobic exercise were hypothesized to facilitate children’s executive functioning as measured by a visual task-switching test. Sixty-nine children (mean age = 9.2 years) who were overweight and inactive performed a category-decision task before and immediately following a 23-min bout of treadmill walking and, on another session, before and following a nonexercise period. The acute bout of physical activity did not influence the children’s global switch cost scores or error rates. Age-related differences in global switch cost scores, but not error scores, were obtained. These results, in concert with several studies conducted with adults, fail to confirm that single bouts of moderately intense physical activity influence mental processes involved in task switching.

Tomporowski, Lambourne, and Gregoski are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, and Davis and Tkacz are with the Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA.

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