D-35 Free Communication/Poster - Physical Activity and Cognitive Function: MAY 28, 2009 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM ROOM: Hall 4F
Due to a decrease in physical education and recess, it is imperative to identify innovative ways to get children active while at school. ExerLearning (ExL) is the integration of physical activity (PA) into standard cross-curricular lesson plans that aims to simultaneously increase PA while promoting enhanced academic performance.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine differences in PA level during traditional academic tutoring (tutoring) and integrated ExL.
METHODS: Forty-two racially-ethnically diverse middle-school boys and girls (age 13±0.9 yrs; BMI, 23.2±6.5 kg·m-2) were randomly assigned to receive tutoring and ExL two times per week for six weeks, at GoKids youth fitness research and training center at UMass Boston, in either a) math (n = 23) or b) language arts (LA) (n = 19). At each session, kids in each group received 30 minutes of tutoring and 30 minutes of ExL. PA at each visit was measured using an ActiGraph GT1M (AG) accelerometer that was worn on the right hip. AG data were converted to time spent in sedentary behaviors (SB), light PA (LPA), and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) using the Trueth equation. At the end of each session participants rated the ExL activities in math or LA (1 to 5 scale) for reinforcement of academic skill development, if the directions were easy to understand and follow, and enjoyment of learning academic skills.
RESULTS: On average, participants spent significantly less time in SB during ExL (14.0±4.2 min) vs. tutoring (25.8±4.4 min) (P<0.001) and significantly more time in LPA and MVPA during ExL (LPA,19.8±3.6 min; MVPA 3.6±2.2 min) versus tutoring (LPA, 9.1±3.4 min; MVPA, 0.7±0.9 min) (P = 0.001). Males on average, obtained 2.6 more minutes of MVPA than females during ExL (P = 0.001). Those in the Math group, compared to the LA group, rated the lessons to help more with their academic skills (3.8 vs. 3.1; P = 0.014) and felt the directions were easier to understand (4.3 vs. 3.9; P = 0.038). Both groups enjoyed the activities and rated them as 3.8 (Math) and 3.5 (LA) out of 5 (P>0.05).
CONCLUSION: ExL has potential to be an effective school-based strategy to decrease SB and increase LPA and MVPA in middle school children, in a time efficient manner, while also teaching the needed core curriculum. Future work needs to examine the effect on academic outcomes and its' relation to improved PA with ExL.