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Yuxin Zhu, Fenghua Sun, Gary C.C. Chow, Sisi Tao, Simon B. Cooper, Borui Zhang, and Thomson W.L. Wong

Purpose: This study investigated the associations between physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior, and executive function in preadolescents. Methods: One hundred and twenty preadolescents were recruited from 2 Hong Kong primary schools. PA and sedentary behavior were recorded for 7 consecutive days by accelerometer. Executive function performance, including inhibition (Stroop task and Flanker task) and working memory (Sternberg paradigm task), were measured. Body mass index and cardiorespiratory fitness (multistage fitness test) were tested. Latent profile analysis explored the profiles of PA and sedentary behavior in preadolescents. Results: Three distinct profiles were identified: low activity, average activity, and high activity. Participants in low activity performed worse in the accuracy of Stroop task (vs average activity, P = .03; vs high activity, P < .01), Flanker task (vs average activity, P = .02; vs high activity, P < .001), and Sternberg paradigm task (vs average activity, P < .01; vs high activity, P < .01). No significant difference was observed between participants with average and high activities. No significant association was observed for profiles on body mass index and cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusion: Supplementing the consensus of the literature that moderate to vigorous PA benefits cognition, the authors conclude that light PA may also enhance preadolescents’ executive functioning.