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Heidi J. Syväoja, Anna Kankaanpää, Jouni Kallio, Harto Hakonen, Janne Kulmala, Charles H. Hillman, Anu-Katriina Pesonen and Tuija H. Tammelin

Background: This study investigated the associations of subjectively and objectively measured physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior with academic achievement. We further examined whether aerobic fitness, obesity, and bedtime mediate these associations. Methods: This study included 970 children aged 9–15 years (52.3% girls) from 9 schools throughout Finland. Register-based academic achievement [grade point average (GPA)] as well as self-reported and accelerometer-measured PA/sedentary behavior were assessed during spring 2013. Aerobic fitness (assessed via a maximal shuttle run test), body composition (assessed via bioimpedance analysis), and self-reported bedtime were collected. Structural equation modeling was applied to examine the associations. Standardized regression coefficients are presented. Results: Self-reported PA had a direct positive [β = 0.084; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.023 to 0.145] and an indirect positive association with GPA through higher aerobic fitness (β = 0.061; 95% CI, 0.033 to −0.087). Accelerometer-based PA was not associated with GPA. Self-reported screen time had an indirect negative association with GPA through later bedtime (β = −0.071; 95% CI, −0.096 to −0.035) and lower aerobic fitness (β = −0.039; 95% CI, −0.059 to 0.019). Nonscreen sedentary time had a direct positive (β = 0.193; 95% CI, 0.101 to −0.289) and an indirect negative association with GPA through lower aerobic fitness (β = −0.040; 95% CI, −0.063 to −0.016). Conclusions: Participating in PA, avoiding excessive screen time, and going to bed earlier may benefit academic achievement.

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Tuija H. Tammelin, Annaleena Aira, Matti Hakamäki, Pauliina Husu, Jouni Kallio, Sami Kokko, Kaarlo Laine, Kati Lehtonen, Kaisu Mononen, Sanna Palomäki, Timo Ståhl, Arja Sääkslahti, Jorma Tynjälä and Katariina Kämppi

Background:

Finland’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gathers and translates research results and assesses the status and promotion of physical activity (PA) among Finnish children and youth less than 18 years of age. This article summarizes the results and provides grades for 9 indicators.

Methods:

The working group evaluated the evidence and assigned grades of A (highest, 81% to 100%), B, C, D, or F (lowest, 0% to 20%) for 9 PA indicators using the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card development process.

Results:

The grades varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall PA/fulfillment of recommendations = D, 2) Organized Sport Participation = C, 3) Active Play = C, 4) Active Transportation = B, 5) Sedentary Behaviors = D, 6) Family and Peers = C, 7) School = B, 8) Community and the Built Environment = B, 9) Government = B.

Conclusions:

Despite good policies and programs to promote PA in Finland, children and youth overall PA levels are low, whereas their time spent sedentary is high. More effective interventions, operation models, concrete tools as well as environmental solutions are needed to support the work toward more physically active childhood and youth.