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Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement in Elementary School Children: 2214Board #127 June 1 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

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

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 5 - p S399
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000274573.54238.aa
E-27 Free Communication/Poster - Pediatric Exercise Physiology: JUNE 1,2007 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM ROOM: Hall E

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.


The benefits of physical fitness are widely acknowledged and extend across many domains of wellness. The association between physical fitness and academic achievement, however, remains to be clarified, especially in young children.

PURPOSE: To examine the relationship among health-related components of physical fitness and academic achievement scores in elementary school children.

METHODS: Data were collected from 134 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children. One-mile run time (sec), body mass index (kg/m2), curl-up (number completed), and sit and reach (cm) data were collected from the FITNESSGRAM and President's Challenge test batteries. Curl-up and sit-and-reach data were combined to form a single measure of muscular fitness. The percentage of questions answered correctly for the mathematics and reading/language arts sections of the TerraNova achievement test was obtained as a valid and objective measure of academic achievement.

RESULTS: For the overall sample, 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 statistically significant associations were evident in boys.

CONCLUSION: results from this study provide evidence to support a link between specific components of physical fitness and selected indices of academic achievement in elementary school children.

© 2007 American College of Sports Medicine