This review of the literature examined the history of research on physical activity, physical fitness, and academic performance and found a growing body of evidence for connections between these factors.
- Research in the 1980s was focused on sport participation and academic performance, and in the 1990s researchers investigated the effects of specific interventions on health, with academic performance as a secondary outcome. Research in the 2000s shifted focus from adolescence to early childhood and examined health benefits from physical activity and began to look at physical activity’s impact on brain function and cognitive skills.
- Recent studies (2010-2012) have demonstrated larger effects on academic performance from physical activity programs.
- Researchers recommend further research on dose-response relationships between physical activity and academic performance, examination of other variables like socioeconomic status, gender, age, home environment, and nutritional habits, and study both in schools and rigorous laboratory studies.
- The research suggests “bringing neuroscience to schools” by translating research into findings and specific recommendations that are applicable in the school setting.
- This article conducts a systematic review and meta-analysis of literature on physical activity, physical fitness, and academic performance among 4-8 year-olds with a priority on examining interventions and randomized control trials.
- The study reported results from the literature by three time periods: before 2000, between 2000 and 2009, and after 2010.
Castelli, D. M., Centeio, E. E., Hwang, J., Barcelona, J. M., Glowacki, E. M., Calvert, H. G. and Nicksic, H. M. (2014). VII. The History of Physical Activity and Academic Performance Research: Informing The Future. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79: 119–148. doi: 10.1111/mono.12133.