Physical activity and academic achievement among Norwegian adolescents: Findings from a longitudinal study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Regular physical activity (PA) has been associated with academic achievement, but the evidence is mainly based on cross-sectional research and self-reported measures of PA. The purpose of the current study was to explore the longitudinal relationship between objectively measured PA and academic achievement among a cohort of adolescents in Norway between 2016 and 2018. As a secondary aim, an indirect relationship via waist circumference (WC) and sleep duration was assessed. Data from 599 adolescents (54.4% female, mean age at baseline ± SD 13.3 ± 0.3 years) were collected annually during their three years at lower secondary school. PA was measured objectively using accelerometry. Academic achievement was assessed using grade point average (GPA) from school records. Linear regression analysis was performed to explore associations between longitudinal changes in measures of PA (Total PA and moderate-to-vigorous PA [MVPA]) and academic achievement directly or via mediators. Results showed no significant associations between Total PA or MVPA and academic achievement, either in the main analyses or through mediation of WC and sleep duration. The results contribute to a growing evidence base of studies showing no association between objectively measured PA and academic achievement among adolescents.