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Eur J Pediatr. 2018 Oct;177(10):1555-1563. doi: 10.1007/s00431-018-3213-z. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

Fitness and academic performance in adolescents. The mediating role of leptin: DADOS study.

Author information

1
LIFE Research Group, University Jaume I, Av. de Vicent Sos Baynat, s/n, 12071, Castellon, Spain.
2
MOVE-IT Research Group, Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Education Sciences, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain.
3
Universitat Jaume I, Castellón de la Plana, Spain.
4
LIFE Research Group, University Jaume I, Av. de Vicent Sos Baynat, s/n, 12071, Castellon, Spain. dmoliner@uji.es.

Abstract

We tested the mediating effect of leptin on the association between physical fitness (PF) components and academic performance indicators in healthy adolescents. A total of 263 adolescents (13.9 ± 0.3 years, 47.5% girls, 12.5% overweight) from the DADOS (Deporte, ADOlescencia y Salud) Study were included in the analysis. PF components were assessed by the handgrip test for upper-limb muscular strength, standing long jump test for lower-limb muscular strength, 4 × 10-m shuttle run test for speed-agility, and 20-m shuttle run test for cardiorespiratory fitness. Plasma leptin concentration was assessed from antecubital vein blood after an overnight fast using a sensitive ELISA kit. Academic performance indicators were assessed through final school grades and through the Spanish version of the SRA Test of Educational Ability. Body composition was assessed by body mass index and skinfold thicknesses. Boot-strapped mediation procedures were performed and indirect effects with confidence intervals not including zero were interpreted as statistically significant. Our findings suggest that the positive associations observed between cardiorespiratory fitness and lower-limb muscular strength with academic performance indicators were mediated by leptin concentration after adjusting for sex, pubertal stage, socioeconomic status, and adiposity (percentage of mediation ranging from 54.61 to 82.02%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Improvements on PF components, particularly in cardiorespiratory fitness and lower-limb muscular strength, might reduce leptin concentration with potential benefits on academic performance in adolescents, independently of adiposity. What is Known: • Academic performance is associated with physical fitness and leptin concentration in children and adolescents. • Fitness modulates leptin concentration levels, regardless of physical activity and adiposity. What is New: • Leptin concentration mediates the association of cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength with academic performance in adolescents. • Improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength might reduce leptin concentration levels enhancing academic performance.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Cognition; Health; Leptin; School grades

PMID:
30046894
DOI:
10.1007/s00431-018-3213-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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