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Lauren B. Raine, John R. Biggan, Carol L. Baym, Brian J. Saliba, Neal J. Cohen and Charles H. Hillman

A growing literature has emerged suggesting a positive relationship between physical fitness and various measures of academic achievement in adolescents ( 7 , 14 , 16 – 18 , 43 ). For example, in Massachusetts, researchers measured academic achievement in fourth- to eighth-grade students using a

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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

physically active lifestyle with learning outcomes has also recently received considerable attention. Previous studies have suggested that excessive screen time 7 , 8 and excess adiposity 9 , 10 may predict poorer academic achievement (AA), whereas regular PA and higher aerobic fitness 11 , 12 benefit AA

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Brandi M. Eveland-Sayers, Richard S. Farley, Dana K. Fuller, Don W. Morgan and Jennifer L. Caputo

Background:

The benefits of physical fitness are widely acknowledged and extend across many domains of wellness. The association between fitness and academic achievement, however, remains to be clarified, especially in young children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.

Methods:

Data were collected from 134 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children. One-mile run time, body mass index, curl-up, and sit-and-reach data were collected from physical education instructors in Middle Tennessee. The percentage of questions answered correctly for the mathematics and reading/language arts sections of the Terra-Nova achievement test was taken as a measure of academic achievement.

Results:

A negative association (P < .01) was noted between 1-mile run times and mathematics scores (r = –.28), whereas a positive relationship (P < .05) was observed between muscular fitness and mathematics scores (r = .20). Relative to sex differences, inverse relationships (P < .05) were observed between 1-mile run times and reading/language arts and mathematics scores in girls (r = –.31 and –.36, respectively), but no significant associations were evident in boys.

Conclusions:

Results from this study support a link between specific components of physical fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.

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Darla M. Castelli, Charles H. Hillman, Sarah M. Buck and Heather E. Erwin

The relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement has received much attention owing to the increasing prevalence of children who are overweight and unfit, as well as the inescapable pressure on schools to produce students who meet academic standards. This study examined 259 public school students in third and fifth grades and found that field tests of physical fitness were positively related to academic achievement. Specifically, aerobic capacity was positively associated with achievement, whereas BMI was inversely related. Associations were demonstrated in total academic achievement, mathematics achievement, and reading achievement, thus suggesting that aspects of physical fitness may be globally related to academic performance in preadolescents. The findings are discussed with regards to maximizing school performance and the implications for educational policies.

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Mark S. Tremblay, J. Wyatt Inman and J. Douglas Willms

This study examined the relationships between children’s reported levels of physical activity, body-mass index, self-esteem, and reading and mathematics scores, while controlling for sex, family structure, and socioeconomic status. The data were collected from the full population of Grade 6 students (N = 6,923) in New Brunswick (NB), Canada in 1996, as part of the Elementary School Climate Study, and the NB Department of Education’s Grade 6 Assessment. Physical activity had a negative relationship with body-mass index. Physical activity had a positive relationship with self-esteem, and a trivial negative relationship with academic achievement. The analysis revealed that both females and males who were more physically active had considerably higher levels of self-esteem. The study suggests that the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement is weak. For some children, physical activity may be indirectly related to enhanced academic performance by improving physical health and self-esteem.

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Martin L. Van Dijk, Renate H.M. De Groot, Hans H.C.M. Savelberg, Frederik Van Acker and Paul A. Kirschner

The main goal of this study was to investigate the association between objectively measured physical activity and academic achievement in adolescents. Students in Grades 7 and 9 (N = 255) were included. Overall, we found no significant dose–response association between physical activity and academic achievement. However, in Grade 7 total physical activity volume (Total PA) was negatively associated with academic achievement, while moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was negatively associated with both academic achievement and mathematics performance. In contrast, in Grade 9 both Total PA and MVPA were positively associated with mathematics performance. In addition, the overall association between MVPA and academic achievement followed an inverted U-shaped curve. Finally, Total PA was positively associated with executive functioning, while executive functioning in turn mediated the associations between Total PA and both academic achievement and mathematics performance. These results indicate that the association between physical activity and academic achievement in adolescents is complex and might be affected by academic year, physical activity volume and intensity, and school grade.

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Hairul A. Hashim, Golok Freddy and Ali Rosmatunisah

Background:

The current study was undertaken to examine the associations between self-determination, exercise habit, anxiety, depression, stress, and academic achievement among adolescents aged 13 and 14 years in eastern Malaysia.

Methods:

The sample consisted of 750 secondary school students (mean age = 13.4 years, SD = 0.49). Participants completed self-report measures of exercise behavioral regulation, negative affect, and exercise habit strength. Midyear exam results were used as an indicator of academic performance. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.

Results:

The results of structural equation modeling revealed a close model fit for the hypothesized model, which indicates that higher levels of self-determination were positively associated with habituated exercise behavior. In turn, exercise habit strength fostered academic achievement and buffered the debilitative effect of stress, depression, and anxiety on student academic performance. The analysis of model invariance revealed a nonsignificant difference between male and female subjects.

Conclusion:

The findings support the notion that habituated exercise fosters academic performance. In addition, we found that habituated exercise buffers the combined effects of stress, anxiety and depression on academic performance. The finding also supports the roles of self-determination in promoting exercise habituation.

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Robert M. Sellers

Concern over academic integrity in recent years has led the NCAA to establish eligibility standards for incoming student-athletes. This has stirred controversy because of the differential effects of the use of standardized test scores on black versus white student-athletes. The present study examines race differences in the predictors of college grade point average (GPA) for student-athletes participating in revenue producing sports. The findings suggest there are different predictors of college academic achievement for black versus white student-athletes. High school GPA and mother’s occupation are the only significant predictors of college GPA for black student-athletes. On the other hand, high school GPA, socioeconomic status, and SAT/ACT scores were significant predictors for white student-athletes. The results are discussed in light of the need for future investigations into the predictors of academic performance of student-athletes as well as current and future NCAA policy

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Herbert W. Marsh

Self-concepts (self-perceptions) of physical fitness and academic achievement were related to 14 field and laboratory indicators of physical fitness and to academic achievement for a large, national representative sample of Australian boys and girls aged 9 to 15 (N = 6,283). Correlations between self-concepts and the corresponding external criteria increased steadily with age in both the physical and academic domains. Consistent with predictions from frame-of-reference models, relations were stronger after controlling for gender and age, suggesting that self-concepts are formed relative to other students of a similar age and gender. Fitness self-concept was most strongly related to some individual measures (e.g., 1.6K run, 50M dash, push-ups, skin fold thickness, VO2max, long jump, and body girth scores) and some components of fitness (e.g., cardiovascular endurance, power, dynamic strength, and body composition) than others. Consistent with multidimensional perspectives of physical fitness, indicators from a variety of fitness domains contributed to fitness self-concepts.

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Carla Caroliny de Almeida Santana, Breno Quintella Farah, Liane Beretta de Azevedo, James O. Hill, Thrudur Gunnarsdottir, João Paulo Botero, Edna Cristina do Prado and Wagner Luiz do Prado

Obesity has been associated with poor academic achievement, while cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) has been linked to academic success.

Purpose:

To investigate whether CRF is associated with academic performance in Brazilian students, independently of body mass index (BMI), fatness and socioeconomic status (SES).

Methods:

392 5th and 6th grade students (193 girls) (12.11 ± 0.75 years old) were evaluated in 2012. Skinfold thickness measures were performed, and students were classified according to BMI-percentile. CRF was estimated by a 20-meter shuttle run test, and academic achievement by standardized math and Portuguese tests. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the association between academic performance and CRF, adjusted for SES, skinfold thickness or BMI-percentile.

Results:

Among girls CRF was associated with higher academic achievement in math (β = 0.146;p = .003) and Portuguese (β = 0.129;p = .004) in crude and adjusted analyses. No significant association was found among boys. BMI was not associated with overall academic performance. There was a weak negative association between skinfold thickness and performance in mathematics in boys (β =- 0.030;p = .04), but not in girls.

Conclusion:

The results highlight the importance of maintaining high fitness levels in girls throughout adolescence a period commonly associated with reductions in physical activity levels and CRF.