This project was financially supported by a Coordinated School Health Grant received by Fargo Public Schools, Fargo, ND 58102.
Relationship of Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors and Fitness Measures to Academic Performance for Sixth Graders in a Midwest City School District
Article first published online: 12 JAN 2011
© 2011, Fargo Public School
Journal of School Health
Volume 81, Issue 2, pages 65–73, February 2011
How to Cite
Edwards, J. U., Mauch, L. and Winkelman, M. R. (2011), Relationship of Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors and Fitness Measures to Academic Performance for Sixth Graders in a Midwest City School District. Journal of School Health, 81: 65–73. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00562.x
- Issue published online: 12 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 12 JAN 2011
- Received on August 05, 2009Accepted on July 13, 2010
- physical activity;
- physical fitness;
- academic performance
BACKGROUND: To support curriculum and policy, a midwest city school district assessed the association of selected categories of nutrition and physical activity (NUTR/PA) behaviors, fitness measures, and body mass index (BMI) with academic performance (AP) for 800 sixth graders.
METHODS: Students completed an adapted Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (NUTR/PA behaviors), fitness assessments (mile run, curl-ups, push-ups, height, and weight) with results matched to standardized scores (Measures of Academic Progress [MAP]), meal price status, and gender. Differences in mean MAP scores (math and reading) were compared by selected categories of each variable utilizing 1-way analysis of variance. Associations were determined by stepwise multiple regression utilizing mean MAP scores (for math and for reading) as the dependent variable and NUTR/PA behaviors, fitness, and BMI categories as independent variables. Significance was set at α = 0.05.
RESULTS: Higher MAP math scores were associated with NUTR (more milk and breakfast; less 100% fruit juice and sweetened beverages [SB]) and PA (increased vigorous PA and sports teams; reduced television), and fitness (higher mile run performance). Higher MAP reading scores were associated with NUTR (fewer SB) and PA (increased vigorous PA, reduced television). Regression analysis indicated about 11.1% of the variation in the mean MAP math scores and 6.7% of the mean MAP reading scores could be accounted for by selected NUTR/PA behaviors, fitness, meal price status, and gender.
CONCLUSION: Many positive NUTR/PA behaviors and fitness measures were associated with higher MAP scores supporting the school district focus on healthy lifestyles. Additional factors, including meal price status and gender, contribute to AP.