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Physical Factors, Cognition, and Academic Performance Changes in Adolescents

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Objective: In this study, we aimed to determine if physical-related factors could predict changes in cognitive control and academic performance in high school students using a longitudinal design. Methods: Overall, 185 students in grades 7-9 (mean age: 13.1 ± 1.0 years old) completed a 3-year prospective study. Physical activity habits (quantity, intensity and the type of sport practicing), physical fitness (cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance), body composition (body mass index, skeletal muscle mass, body fat percentage), cognitive control (inhibitory control and working memory) and academic performance (grades in science, mathematics, language and the overall average) were assessed every year. Results: Better physical fitness and body composition seem to be positively associated with cognitive control and academic performance in both girls and boys. However, these associations were weak and had a poor ability to predict variations in cognitive control or academic performance during the 3-year period. Conclusion: Results of the present study indicate that physical-related factors were not important predictors of cognitive control and academic performance variations in high school students during a 3-year period.
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Keywords: ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT; COGNITIVE CONTROL; EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS; LONGITUDINAL DESIGN; MIDDLE SCHOOL; VO2 MAX

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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