The potential for physical activity and fitness to improve cognitive function, learning and academic achievement in children has received attention by researchers and policy makers. This paper reports a systematic approach to identification, analysis and review of published studies up to early 2009. A three-step search method was adopted to identify studies that used measures of physical activity or fitness to assess either degree of association with or effect on a) academic achievement and b) cognitive performance. A total of 18 studies including one randomised control trial, six quasi-experimental and 11 correlational studies were included for data extraction. No studies meeting criteria that examined the links between physical activity and cognitive function were found. Weak positive associations were found between both physical activity and fitness and academic achievement and fitness and elements of cognitive function, but this was not supported by intervention studies. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that additional physical education time increases academic achievement; however there is no evidence that it is detrimental. The quality and depth of the evidence base is limited. Further research with rigour beyond correlational studies is essential.
|Translated title of the contribution||The impact of physical activity and fitness on academic achievement and cognitive performance in children|
|Pages (from-to)||198 - 214|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2009|