Online Program

SES, physical activity, and academic achievement from middle childhood through early adolescence

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rachel Manes, M.S., M.Phil., Psychology Program, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY
Childhood obesity has escalated and is associated with health and academic problems. School-based physical activity (PA) is an important correlate of childhood obesity that has been linked to improved academic achievement. Greater PA is linked to higher executive functioning, concentration, and socioeconomic status (SES). This study examines whether PA predicts academic achievement through executive functioning and concentration plus the role of SES in this pathways.

Hypotheses: 1) As PA increases, executive functioning and concentration increase resulting in improved academic achievement, 2) the effect of SES on academic achievement is partially mediated by executive functioning and concentration as a consequence of PA, 3) Higher SES predicts greater PA leading to increased executive functioning and concentration resulting in improved academic achievement. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development dataset (N = 1032) was analyzed at ages 9 (2000), 11 (2002), 12 (2003), and 15 (2006). Hypotheses were confirmed using a mediational path model. Greater PA predicted improved academic achievement (beta = -2.58, SE = 0.78; p < .001). Increased executive functioning (beta = 0.11, SE = 0.03; p < .001) and concentration (beta = 0.07, SE = 0.02; p < .01) mediated this relationship. Higher SES predicted improved academic achievement (beta = -2.15, SE = 0.90; p < .05). Additional path analyses will test the full mediational model.

This study's demonstration of the pathways through which PA improves academic achievement will provide policy-makers with research evidence to design school-based interventions crucial to preventing childhood obesity.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the relationship between PA on academic achievement from middle childhood through early adolescence. Assess the degree to which executive functioning and concentration mediate the relationship between PA and academic achievement. Analyze the antecedent role of SES in predicting PA in the model.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology and Research Assistant to the Graduate Center Doctoral Nursing Program with extensive training in quantitative methods; specifically, path analyses, hierarchical linear modeling, and structural equation modeling. Notably, this study is my dissertation project. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for preventing childhood obesity in school settings (e.g., physical education program, in-class academically-oriented exercise programs).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.