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Sergio Estrada-Tenorio, José A. Julián, Alberto Aibar, José Martín-Albo, and Javier Zaragoza

The health benefits of physical activity (PA) for adolescents have been previously well established. 1 There is an emerging body of research that suggests that PA and healthy habits may also provide benefits in terms of cognitive performance and academic achievement. 2 , 3 Published research

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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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Ruben Vist Hagen, Håvard Lorås, Hermundur Sigmundsson, and Monika Haga

The grade, as a measure of academic achievement, serves important functions in the school system. It should reflect pupils’ level of competence (e.g., knowledge and skills) within a subject and function as a selection instrument in the transition from lower to upper secondary school and, ultimately

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Sebastián Fierro-Suero, Pedro Sáenz-López, José Carmona-Márquez, and Bartolomé J. Almagro

). However, the relationship of emotions with the intention to be physically active (IPA) and academic achievement in PE classes has not yet been studied. Therefore, this was the main objective of the study. Until now, affect (which combines group emotions into two single factors: positive or negative) has

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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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.