The relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement among 4th and 5th grade boys and girls from high and low-poverty schools

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David D. Jones (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Pam Brown

Abstract: This study examined the relationship between fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance) and academic achievement (North Carolina End-of-Grade Math and Reading Assessments) in 4th and 5th grade boys and girls from high and low-poverty schools (N=2194). The primary aim of this study was to clarify specific relationships among cardiorespiratory endurance, academic achievement, gender, and poverty in order to help guide school policy. The secondary aim was to use detailed findings from this study to make specific recommendations to stakeholders in the school district to change school programs and policies toward increasing physical activity for specific student populations. Descriptive, correlational, and regression analysis were performed to analyze the relationship among fitness, academic achievement, gender, and poverty. Results demonstrated that students from low-poverty schools generally outperformed students from high-poverty schools in all measurements of fitness and academic achievement. Main effects of gender and poverty were seen on academic achievement and cardiorespiratory endurance, though the effect of poverty was much stronger than that of gender. Positive correlations were demonstrated between fitness and academic scores among the full participant group. Fitness was a significant predictor of math and reading across both poverty levels, though generally stronger in low-poverty schools. The strongest relationship between fitness scores and academic achievement was found with math scores for girls from high-poverty schools. Findings from this study were used to make specific recommendations to stakeholders in the school system toward increasing student physical activity levels among high-poverty elementary schools.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Academic achievement, Cardiorespiratory endurance, Elementary students, Free-and-reduced lunch, Physical fitness, Poverty
Physical fitness for children
Academic achievement

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