Longitudinal Relationship between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Academic Achievement.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2015 ; 48: 839-44.
PubMed ID : 26606272
PMCID : EMS80294
The aim of this study was to examine the prospective associations between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and academic achievement in the youth.
The sample included 1286 fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade students, age 11 to 14 yr (Mage = 11.3 ± 1.1), from 14 schools followed for 3 yr. Academic achievement was assessed using the students' marks at baseline and at follow-up 3 yr apart, in Portuguese, mathematics, foreign language (English), and science. CRF was assessed by the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run test from the Fitnessgram battery. Students were classified as fit-fit, unfit-fit, fit-unfit, and unfit-unfit according to the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run test results at baseline and follow-up. Ordinal regression analyses were performed to examine associations between CRF and academic achievement.
Being persistently fit (fit-fit), compared with those classified unfit-unfit, increased the odds of having high levels of academic achievement in Portuguese (odds ratio (OR) = 3.49; 95% CI, 1.97-6.20; P < 0.001) and foreign language (OR = 2.41; 95% CI, 1.39-4.14; P < 0.01) at follow-up. Students that improved their CRF and became fit (unfit-fit) had also higher odds of achieving better marks than those persistently unfit-unfit in Portuguese (OR = 2.52; 95% CI, 1.42-4.45; P < 0.01) and foreign language (OR = 2.13; 95% CI, 1.23-3.67; P < 0.01).
Consistently high and improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness are prospectively associated with better academic achievement especially in mother tongue and foreign language.