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Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Academic Achievement in Children

Key Message

Lower levels of physical activity and higher levels of sedentary time and particularly their combination were related to poorer reading skills in boys.


Haapala, Eero A. et al. (2016). Physical activity and sedentary time in relation to academic achievement in children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. In Press. DOI:


To investigate the independent and combined associations of objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time (ST) with reading and arithmetic skills.


In boys, MVPA was directly and ST inversely associated with reading fluency in Grades 1–3 and arithmetic skills in Grade 1 (P < 0.05). Higher levels of MVPA were also related to better reading comprehension in Grade 1 (P < 0.05). Most of the associations of MVPA and ST with reading and arithmetic skills attenuated after mutual adjustment for MVPA or ST. Furthermore, boys with a combination of lower levels of MVPA and higher levels of ST had consistently poorer reading fluency (P = 0.002) and reading comprehension (P = 0.027) across Grades 1–3 than other boys.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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