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EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE
Coe D. P. 1, Pivarnik J. M. 2, 3, Womack C. J. 4, Reeves M. J. 3, Malina R. M. 5, 6
1 Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA;
2 Department of Kinesiology;
3 Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA;
4 Department of Kinesiology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA;
5 University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA;
6 Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, USA
AIM: The aim of the present study was to determine the association between health-related fitness (HRF) and academic achievement in middle school youth.
METHODS: Subjects were 312 middle school students. HRF was assessed using the FITNESSGRAM test battery. Students were grouped by the number of fitness tests in which they performed within the Healthy Fitness Zone, ranging from <1 test (lowest fitness) to all 5 tests (highest fitness). Academic achievement was assessed using grades (A - F) from four core classes, which were converted to interval data (A=5, F=1) and summed over the academic year and a standardized test (percentile). Maturity offset was calculated to control for the possible effect of maturity status on the association between HRF and academic achievement. Differences in academic achievement among HRF groups were determined using ANOVA.
RESULTS: Grades and standardized test percentiles were higher in HRF group 5 (P<0.01) compared to HRF groups <2, 3, and 4. Cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular strength and endurance were the HRF components most strongly associated with academic achievement.
CONCLUSION: HRF was related to academic achievement in youth. Students with the highest fitness level performed better on standardized tests and students with the lowest fitness level performed lower in class grades.