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Keywords:

  • Academic achievement;
  • Aerobic capacity;
  • Middle school;
  • Neurocognitive;
  • Physical fitness

Abstract

Aim

The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical fitness is linked to academic success in middle school students.

Methods

The FITNESSGRAM test battery assessed students (n = 838) in the five components of health-related fitness. The Illinois Standardized Achievement Test (ISAT) was used to assess academic achievement in reading and math.

Results

The largest correlations were seen for aerobic fitness and muscular endurance (ranging from 0.12 to 0.27, all p < 0.05). Boys in the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) for aerobic fitness or muscular endurance were 2.5–3 times more likely to pass their math or reading exams. Girls in the HFZ for aerobic fitness were approximately 2–4 times as likely to meet or exceed reading and math test standards.

Conclusions

Aerobic capacity and muscular endurance seem to positively affect academic achievement in middle school students.