What is it about?

Physical inactivity is a major public health problem in developed countries. In this study we found that higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of sedentary behaviour, measured using a device combining movement and heart rate sensing, were associated with poorer academic achievement in boys over first three school-years. Our study also showed that boys who were more physically active at baseline of the study improved their academic achievement more during 2-year follow-up than their less active peers.

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Why is it important?

There is an increased emphasis on learning and education in modern society. At the same time children's physical activity levels are decreasing and time spent sedentary is increasing. Our results showed that physically more active boys had better school performance than their inactive peers. Thus, reducing time spent sedentary and increasing physical activity may support academic achievement in boys.


I hope that knowledge that physical activity may have a positive impact on academic achievement makes parents, teachers, politicians, and other adults support children's movement. The development of heart diseases takes years, but physical activity can improve cognition and academic achievement immediately. That's quite nice motivation, I think.

Dr. Eero Haapala
University of Jyväskylä

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Physical activity and sedentary time in relation to academic achievement in children, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, June 2017, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.11.003.
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