Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2574-4437 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
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Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2019, 4(2), 90-96
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-4-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Evaluating the Associations between Physical Activity, Weight Gain and Academic Attainment in Primary School Children

Michael McCluskey1, , Janine Bridges2, Neil Gilson2, 3, Jaap H Buurke4, 5, Hermanus J Hermens4 and Anand D Pandyan1

1School of Health and Rehabilitation, Keele University, UK

2Stoke on Trent City Council, UK

3Education through the Physical, UK

4Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, the Netherlands

5Biomedical Signals and Systems, TechMed Centre, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Pub. Date: May 13, 2019

Cite this paper:
Michael McCluskey, Janine Bridges, Neil Gilson, Jaap H Buurke, Hermanus J Hermens and Anand D Pandyan. Evaluating the Associations between Physical Activity, Weight Gain and Academic Attainment in Primary School Children. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2019; 4(2):90-96. doi: 10.12691/jpar-4-2-2


Objective The aim of this study was to identify if there is an association between physical activity, body mass and academic attainment in primary school children. Methods Eighty-six children at a UK primary school were included in this cohort analysis. Physical activity status was determined using the Physical Activity Questionnaire – Children. Weight and height was measured, and BMI calculated at 4-time points. Academic attainment was measured from national standardised tests. Results Children who are less active demonstrated lower height (mean difference (MD) 0.49 95% CI 0.08 to 0.90), weight (MD 0.58 95% CI 0.12 to 1.04) and BMI z-scores (MD 0.48 95% CI -0.04 to 1.00) than children who are more active. They also had a higher rate of weight gain (0.06 z-score units/month), than children who are more active (0.05*z-core units/ month), and had greater fluctuations in weight. Children who were more active performed significantly better than children who are less active in writing (χ2 16.40, p=0.003) and mathematics (χ2 12.18, p=0.02). Conclusion There does appear to be an association between physical activity, body mass and academic attainment in primary school children, such that lower activity levels negatively effects growth and academic performance. These differences could not be solely explained by physical activity level due to unaccounted socio-economic factor.

physical activity academic attainment growth BMI primary school children

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