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PeerJ. 2016 Oct 6;4:e2560. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2560. eCollection 2016.

Associations between different components of fitness and fatness with academic performance in Chilean youths.

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Facultad de Educación, Universidad Autonoma de Chile, Talca, Chile.
Instituto Superior de Educación Física, Universidad de la República, Rivera, Uruguay.
Facultad de Educación, Universidad Autonoma de Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile.
Contributed equally



To analyze the associations between different components of fitness and fatness with academic performance, adjusting the analysis by sex, age, socio-economic status, region and school type in a Chilean sample.


Data of fitness, fatness and academic performance was obtained from the Chilean System for the Assessment of Educational Quality test for eighth grade in 2011 and includes a sample of 18,746 subjects (49% females). Partial correlations adjusted by confounders were done to explore association between fitness and fatness components, and between the academic scores. Three unadjusted and adjusted linear regression models were done in order to analyze the associations of variables.


Fatness has a negative association with academic performance when Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist to Height Ratio (WHR) are assessed independently. When BMI and WHR are assessed jointly and adjusted by cofounders, WHR is more associated with academic performance than BMI, and only the association of WHR is positive. For fitness components, strength was the variable most associated with the academic performance. Cardiorespiratory capacity was not associated with academic performance if fatness and other fitness components are included in the model.


Fitness and fatness are associated with academic performance. WHR and strength are more related with academic performance than BMI and cardiorespiratory capacity.


Academic achievement; Adolescents; BMI; Physical fitness

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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