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Rodrigo Antunes Lima, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Niels Christian Møller, Lars Bo Andersen and Anna Bugge

Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between physical activity (PA) and academic performance in children and adolescents, and results are summarized in several reviews. 1 – 3 Despite the considerable number of published studies, a recent systematic review did not find clear evidence

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Rodrigo Antunes Lima, Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Anna Bugge and Lars Bo Andersen

There is a constant pressure of the society on children and adolescents to present higher academic performance, and this has led to a decrease in the amount of time students are exposed to physical activities at school in several countries ( 23 ). Concerns about the possible deleterious impact of

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Roy J. Shephard

Advocates of quality daily physical education for prepubescent children frequently encounter the argument that such initiatives will harm academic progress. The impact of daily physical education upon the academic performance of primary school students is thus reviewed with particular reference to studies conducted in Vanves (France), Australia, and Trois Rivières (Québec). When a substantial proportion of curricular time (14–26%) is allocated to physical activity, learning seems to proceed more rapidly per unit of classroom time, so that academic performance matches, and may even exceed, that of control students. Children receiving additional physical education show an acceleration of their psychomotor development, and this could provide a mechanism for accelerated learning of academic skills. Other potential mechanisms include increased cerebral blood flow, greater arousal, changes in hormone levels, enhanced nutrient intake, changes in body build, and increased self esteem. Academic teachers may also favor the enhanced physical education program, creating “halo” effects, and the resulting release time may enhance their academic teaching. Irrespective of mechanisms, the implication for public policy is that daily required physical education can be introduced when a child enters primary school without compromising academic development. Given the importance of establishing positive health habits from an early age, school boards should be encouraged to follow a policy of required daily physical activity in primary schools. Evidence of specific benefit in students with learning disabilities remains less convincing.

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Gary Kiger and Deana Lorentzen

This paper investigates the relative effects of gender, race, and type of sport (revenue vs. nonrevenue sport) on academic performance among university athletes. Using regression analyses, the study demonstrates that race is the strongest predictor of university academic performance. Gender, race, and type of sport also influence intervening variables such as secondary school academic achievement, financial assistance, and intensity of involvement in athletics at the university. The implications for academic and athletic programs are discussed.

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Tine Torbeyns, Bas de Geus, Stephen Bailey, Lieselot Decroix, Jeroen Van Cutsem, Kevin De Pauw and Romain Meeusen

Background:

Physical activity is positively associated with physical health, cognitive performance, brain functioning and academic performance. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of bike desks in the classroom on adolescents’ energy expenditure, physical health, cognitive performance, brain functioning and academic performance.

Methods:

Forty-four adolescents were randomly assigned to control group (CG) or intervention group (IG). During 5 months, the IG used a bike desk for 4 class hours/week. Energy expenditure was measured during 6 consecutive days. Anthropometric parameters, aerobic fitness, academic performance, cognitive performance and brain functioning were assessed before (T0) and after (T1) the intervention.

Results:

Energy expenditure of the IG was significantly higher during the class hours in which they used the bike desks relative to normal class hours. The CG had a significantly higher BMI at T1 relative to T0 while this was not significantly different for the IG. Aerobic fitness was significantly better in the IG at T1 relative to T0. No significant effects on academic performance cognitive performance and brain functioning were observed.

Conclusions:

As the implementation of bike desks in the classroom did not interfere with adolescents’ academic performance, this can be seen as an effective means of reducing in-class sedentary time and improving adolescents’ physical health.

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Raquel Burrows, Paulina Correa-Burrows, Yasna Orellana, Atilio Almagiá, Pablo Lizana and Daniza Ivanovic

Background:

This study was carried out to examine the association between systematic physical activity and academic performance in school kids after controlling for potential sociodemographic and educational confounders.

Methods:

In a random sample of 1271 students from urban Santiago, attending 5th and 9th grade, who took the 2009 System for the Assessment of Educational Quality (SIMCE) tests, we measured physical activity habits, anthropometric characteristics, and socioeconomic status. Academic performance was measured by the standardized SIMCE tests. Logistic regressions assessed the relationship between the allocation of time to weekly scheduled exercise, potential confounding factors, and individual academic performance.

Results:

About 80% of students reported less than 2 hours of weekly scheduled exercise, while 10.6% and 10.2% reported 2 to 4 hours/week and more than 4 hours/week, respectively. Devoting more than 4 hours/week to scheduled exercise significantly increased (P < .01) the odds of having SIMCE composite z-scores ≥ 50th percentile (OR: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.4 to 3.6) and ≥ 75th percentile (OR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.3–3.3).

Conclusions:

Better academic performance was associated with a higher allocation of time to scheduled exercise in school-age children.

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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.

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Terence Dwyer, James F. Sallis, Leigh Blizzard, Ross Lazarus and Kimberlie Dean

The objective of this study was to examine the association of scholastic performance with physical activity and fitness of children. To do so, school ratings of scholastic ability on a five-point scale for a nationally representative sample of 7,961 Australian schoolchildren aged 7–15 years were compared with physical activity and fitness measurements. Consistently across age and sex groups, the ratings were significantly correlated with questionnaire measures of physical activity and with performance on the 1.6-kilometer run, sit-ups and push-ups challenges, 50-meter sprint, and standing long jump. There were no significant associations for physical work capacity at a heart rate of 170 (PWC170). The results are concordant with the hypothesis that physical activity enhances academic performance, but the cross-sectional nature of the observations limits causal inference, and the disparity for PWC170 gives reason to question whether the associations were due to measurement bias or residual confounding.

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Koenraad J. Lindner

School children and youth from Primary Grade 5 to Secondary Grade 7 (average age range, 9 to 18 years) in Hong Kong completed a sports participation questionnaire and rated their own academic performance (AP). Results of ANOVAs indicated that frequency and extent of participation tended to be significantly higher for students with high self-ratings than for students with less satisfactory self-reported performance, and that this trend was significantly stronger in females than males and present in all age groups. The correlations between participation and AP were generally significant but low. These results indicate that those who perceive themselves to be the better achievers in academic subjects are as a group the more frequent participants, with stronger motives for involvement in sport and physical activity. A prevalent fear among parents and teachers in Hong Kong, that regular sport participation could threaten academic achievement, appears unfounded.

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Koenraad J. Lindner

This study examined the relationship between academic performance and physical activity participation using objective measures of scholastic achievement, and the effect of banding (academic tracking). The sample comprised 1,447 students (aged 13–17 years) in secondary grades 2, 4, and 6 (736 boys; 711 girls). Academic records were collected from the schools, and a participation questionnaire was administered to the students. School banding was found to be a significant predictor of participation time, and students from higher-banded schools had generally greater participation time than lower-band students. Conversely, perceived academic performance and potential tended to be higher for students with more participation time in physical activity, particularly so for the males. However, for actual academic grades this positive association was not found when banding was taken into consideration. No relationship was found for the middle- and high-band students, while a slight negative relationship was observed for the low-band students.