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J Pediatr. 2010 Dec;157(6):917-922.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.06.026. Epub 2010 Jul 31.

Physical activity, fitness, weight status, and cognitive performance in adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.



To examine the association of participation in physical sports activity during leisure time, sedentary behaviors, cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and weight status with cognitive performance in Spanish adolescents.


This cross-sectional study comprised a total of 1820 adolescents (958 female) aged 13.0 to 18.5 years. Cognitive performance (verbal, numeric and reasoning abilities, and an overall score) was measured with the "SRA-Test of Educational Ability." Participation in physical sports activity during leisure time (yes/no) and time devoted to study, television viewing, and playing video games were self-reported and categorized as ≤ 3 hours/day and >3 hours/day. We assessed cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness with field-based tests. Adolescents were classified as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese.


Participation in physical sports activities during leisure time was associated with better cognitive performance study variables (all P < .001), independent of potential confounders including cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index. We did not observe an association of time devoted to study, television viewing, or playing video-games with cognitive performance. Likewise, cognitive performance was similar across cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness levels and body weight categories.


Participation in physical sports activity during leisure time may positively influence cognitive performance in adolescents.

Copyright © 2010 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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