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Prev Med. 2011 Jun;52 Suppl 1:S10-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.027. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance: a systematic review of the literature.

Author information

  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE MS: K-33, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. CRasberry@cdc.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this review is to synthesize the scientific literature that has examined the association between school-based physical activity (including physical education) and academic performance (including indicators of cognitive skills and attitudes, academic behaviors, and academic achievement).

METHOD:

Relevant research was identified through a search of nine electronic databases using both physical activity and academic-related search terms. Forty-three articles (reporting a total of 50 unique studies) met the inclusion criteria and were read, abstracted, and coded for this synthesis. Findings of the 50 studies were then summarized.

RESULTS:

Across all the studies, there were a total of 251 associations between physical activity and academic performance, representing measures of academic achievement, academic behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes. Slightly more than half (50.5%) of all associations examined were positive, 48% were not significant, and 1.5% were negative. Examination of the findings by each physical activity context provides insights regarding specific relationships.

CONCLUSION:

Results suggest physical activity is either positively related to academic performance or that there is not a demonstrated relationship between physical activity and academic performance. Results have important implications for both policy and schools.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21291905
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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