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Lucy Barnard-Brak, Tonya Davis, Tracey Sulak and Victor Brak

Objective:

The purpose of the current study was to examine the association between structured physical activity, specifically physical education, and symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Physical activity may be associated with lower levels of symptoms of ADHD and this rationale provided the impetus for the current study.

Methods:

A community-based, nationally representative sample of children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K) was used. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the association of physical activity with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Two random subsamples were drawn for the purposes of cross-validation of our model. Statistics reflecting model ft are reported.

Results:

With a standardized path coefficient value of –.23, findings from the current study indicate a significant, inverse association between physical education, as a structured form of physical activity, with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children.

Conclusions:

Using a community-based, nationally representative sample of children aged 5 to 7 years old from the United States, the results of the current study suggest that physical education, as a structured form of physical activity, may be considered as associated with lower levels of symptoms of ADHD across time.