The relationship between school-based physical activity and academic achievement among 4th grade students in Georgia public schools Público

Lange, Samantha (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/td96k343r?locale=es
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Abstract

Background: More than 50% of children aged 6-17 fall short of the nationally recommended 60 minutes of daily PA. Serving 35 million children nationwide, elementary schools provide a compelling environment to increase PA. However, overcrowded curricula designed to enhance standardized test performance restrict students' PA opportunities. If PA is consistently associated with higher academic achievement, school districts may more highly prioritize it as an integral part of the school day. Specific objectives of this analysis included 1) to examine the effect of a school-based PA intervention, Health Empowers You!, on physical activity levels, physical fitness levels, and academic achievement (AA), 2) to assess whether changes in PA and physical fitness impacted standardized test scores, and 3) to evaluate the effects of sex and socioeconomic status (SES) on the relationship between PA and AA.

Methods: HealthMPowers collected data on a total of 1,829 4th grade students from 23 intervention and 7 control schools in 3 Atlanta school districts during the 2015-2016 academic year. Standardized test scores were obtained from school districts and linked with PA data by students' Georgia Testing IDs. Two sample t-tests of mean differences between students attending intervention and control schools were conducted on the following variables: SES, sex, classroom steps, PACER laps, BMI percentiles, and test scores for Mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), and Lexile reading. Multiple linear regression models were fit for each test subject.

Results: Though control students were significantly higher at baseline, intervention students consistently increased their steps to attain a higher overall average than controls (3416.1 vs. 3182.8, p<0.0001). Intervention students obtained significantly higher standardized test scores in math (524.6 vs. 517.6, p=0.0051) and in Lexile reading (825.3 vs. 794.2, p=0.0008). Changes in PA variables over time were not significantly associated with AA. However, SES was significantly associated with higher scores in all subjects, indicating an important covariate between health and achievement.

Conclusion: This analysis contributes to the expanding body of literature on the impact of school-based PA on AA. As evidence strengthens, educational programs and policies may integrate public health and education to enhance students' physical health and academic success.

Table of Contents

LITERATURE REVIEW..............................................1

Effects of Physical Activity.....................................1

Physical Activity Trends and Efforts.........................2

The Rationale for School-Based Interventions............4

Physical Activity and Academic Achievement.............5

Factors Associated with PA and AA.........................8

Limitations with Existing Research..........................10

Goals & Objectives..............................................11

METHODS.........................................................12

Study Design......................................................12

Study Population.................................................12

Intervention Program............................................13

Data Sources......................................................14

Data Measures....................................................19

Data Analysis......................................................22

RESULTS...........................................................25

Descriptive Statistics............................................25

Changes in Physical Activity...................................26

Standardized Test Scores......................................27

Bivariate Correlations............................................27

Multiple Linear Regression......................................27

DISCUSSION......................................................30

Strengths...........................................................33

Limitations..........................................................34

FUTURE DIRECTIONS..........................................35

Implications........................................................36

REFERENCES.....................................................38

TABLES.............................................................42

FIGURES...........................................................45

APPENDICES........................................................49

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