Aerobic fitness and academic achievement: A systematic review and meta-analysis
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This study aims to quantify the association between aerobic fitness and academic achievement, and determine how different aerobic fitness tests and individual demographic characteristics may modify this association. It includes 41 cross-sectional and 7 longitudinal studies focusing on children and adolescents, from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database and Web of Science. Pooled effect sizes (ES) were estimated for the association between aerobic fitness and specific domains of academic achievement. Subgroup analyses and meta-regressions were based on aerobic fitness tests and demographic characteristics. The ES for the association between aerobic fitness with language/reading-skills, mathematics-related skills and composite scores, were 0.23 (95% CI: 0.12; 0.34); 0.27 (95% CI: 0.19; 0.36) and 0.28 (95% CI: 0.12; 0.45), respectively. Subgroup analyses by aerobic fitness test modified these associations; additionally, analyses by sex or age showed differences between boys and girls as well as between children and adolescents. Finally, meta-regressions revealed a slight effect of body mass index on these associations. Cardiorespiratory fitness is positively associated with academic achievement. Associations were dependent on demographic and aerobic fitness test characteristics, being stronger in boys than in girls, and in children than in adolescents. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42017069677. © 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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