Associations Between Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Academic Attainment in Adolescents from a UK Cohort

The goal of the study was to test students for cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between objectively measured free-living physical activity (PA) and academic attainment in adolescents.

  • Data from 4755 participants (45% male) with valid measurement of PA (total volume and intensity) by accelerometry at age 11 from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) was examined. Data linkage was performed with nationally administered school assessments in English, Math and Science at ages 11, 13 and 16.
  • Results: After controlling for total volume of PA, the percentage of time spent in moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) predicted increased performance in English assessments in both sexes, taking into account confounding variables. In Math at 16 years, percentage of time in MVPA predicted increased performance for males (standardised β=0.11, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.22) and females (β=0.08, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.16). For females the percentage of time spent in MVPA at 11 years predicted increased Science scores at 11 and 16 years (β=0.14 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.25) and 0.14 (0.07 to 0.21), respectively). The correction for regression dilution approximately doubled the standardised β coefficients.
  • The findings suggest a long-term positive impact of MVPA on academic attainment in adolescence.

Booth, J N, Leary, S D, Joinson, C, Ness, A R, Tomporowski, P D, Boyle, J M, & Reilly, J J. (2013). Associations between objectively measured physical activity and academic attainment in adolescents from a UK cohort. British Journal of Sports Medicine. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092334

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