Examining the impact of integrating physical activity on fluid intelligence and academic performance in an elementary school setting: A preliminary investigation

Julian A. Reed, Gilles Einstein, Erin Hahn, Steven P. Hooker, Virginia P. Gross, Jen Kravitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To examine the impact of integrating physical activity with elementary curricula on fluid intelligence and academic achievement. Methods: A random sample of 3rd grade teachers integrated physical activity into their core curricula approximately 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week from January 2008 to April 2008. Noninvasive fluid intelligence cognitive measures were used along with State-mandated academic achievement tests. Results: Experimental Group children averaged close to 1200 pedometer steps per integration day, thus averaging 3600 steps per week. Children in the Experimental Group performed significantly better on the SPM Fluid Intelligence Test. Children in the Experimental Group also performed significantly better on the Social Studies State mandated academic achievement test. Experimental Group children also received higher scores on the English/Language Arts, Math and Science achievements tests, but were not statistically significant compared with Control Group children. Children classified in Fitnessgram's Healthy Fitness Zone for BMI earned lower scores on many of the SPM Fluid Intelligence components. Discussion: This investigation provides evidence that movement can influence fluid intelligence and should be considered to promote cognitive development of elementary-age children. Equally compelling were the differences in SPM Fluid Intelligence Test scores for children who were distinguished by Fitnessgram's BMI cut points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Health promotion
  • Physical activity
  • Physical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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