Online Program

Physical Activity and Fitness Associated with Student Academic Performance in a Health-Focused Charter School

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Maryann Mason, PhD, Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Allison Lipsman, Namaste Charter School, Chicago, IL
Allison Slade, Namaste Charter School, Chicago, IL
Sarah B. Welch, MPH, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kathryn Nelson, Namaste Charter School, Chicago, IL
introduction: Namaste Charter School (Namaste), founded in 2004, is a Chicago public school focusing on integrating health, wellness and rigorous academics. Namaste promotes advanced, focused learning and long-term health and exercise habits. This project examines associations between Namaste student health indicators and academic performance.

methods: Using a one-group pre-post design, individual student data is matched at fall and spring measurement time points. Data  include student demographics, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) score (grades 3-8), a student survey on health knowledge, attitude and behavior, student attendance/tenure, fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility) measures, and body mass index (BMI), BMI percentile and weight status. Analyses include frequencies, chi-square, t-test, and multivariable regression.

results: We found a significant relationship between obtaining >60 minutes of daily physical activity (PA) and MAP reading scores for non-special needs K-2nd students and MAP reading and math percentile scores for non-special needs 3rd-8th grade students. For 3rd-8th grade students with special needs we found a significant relationship between student fitness and MAP math and reading scores. Student race/ethnicity, grade, sex, family income, and school lunch participation were significantly associated with academic performance. Weight status was not associated with academic performance or fitness.

discussion:  We found positive relationships between academic performance and obtaining >60 minutes of daily PA and academic performance and overall fitness. These relationships differ by student population (grade and special needs status).   Student demographic variables are also associated with academic performance.  These findings are promising and underscore the importance of incorporating PA into schools to improve academic performance. 

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe elements of the Namaste Charter School model and methods for evaluating integration of physical activity and academic success. Describe the relationship between physical activity and fitness and academic achievement among Namaste students. Discuss the implications of the relationships found for other academic settings.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this project. I have many years of experience working as the PI on school based projects looking at student health.
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.