Association of physical activity with cognition, metacognition and academic performance in children and adolescents: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis
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Introduction: Schools provide a relevant context for improving children's and adolescents' physical and mental health by increasing physical activity during school hours and/or beyond. The interest in the relationship between physical activity programmes and cognition during development has recently increased, with evidence suggesting a positive association. We present a protocol of systematic reviews and metaanalysis of intervention studies that, by determining the effects of chronic physical exercise on children's and adolescents' cognitive and metacognitive functions, cognitive life skills, academic behaviours and achievement, aims to ensure procedural objectivity and transparency, and maximise the extraction of relevant information to inform policy development. Methods: This protocol is guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) and by the Cochrane Collaboration Handbook. Databases to be utilised for a thorough selection of the pertinent literature are MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Web of Science, PsycINFO and ERIC. Selection is proposed to encompass an international and a national publication level, with inclusion of experimental studies written in English or in Spanish, respectively. Also, relevant references included in the selected studies will be considered suitable for review as supplemental sources. We present an integrated approach to the methodological quality assessment of the selected studies, including the Jadad Scale for the assessment of the quality of randomised controlled trials and the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies for pre-post studies and non-randomised controlled trials. The pre-post interventions mean differences will be the primary indicator of the intervention outcome. Statistical analysis: A subgroup analysis is proposed based on cognitive functions and their neural correlates, metacognitive functions and cognitive life skills, academic achievement areas and academic behaviours.
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