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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
 
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 258.
Published online Apr 2, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-258
PMCID: PMC3412726
Association between physical activity and academic performance in Korean adolescent students
Wi-Young Socorresponding author1
1Department of Human Movement Science, Seoul Women’s University, Seoul, South Korea
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Wi-Young So: wowso/at/swu.ac.kr
Received August 16, 2011; Accepted April 2, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Recently, physical activity (PA) was found to improve cognitive and memory functions in the brain; however, no epidemiological studies have specifically investigated this phenomenon in the Korean adolescent student population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of various types of PA undertaken at various frequencies, on the academic performance of Korean adolescent students.
Methods
A total of 75,066 adolescent students (39,612 males and 35,454 females) from the 7th to the 12th grades took part in the 5th Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS-V) project, conducted in 2009. Using data acquired by that survey, potential relations between PA and academic performance were explored in this current study through multivariate logistic regression analysis incorporating adjustment for covariate variables including age, body mass index, the parents’ education level, and the income status of the family.
Results
Compared with boys who did not regularly participate in any vigorous PA, those who did so 2, 3, or 4 times a week had greater odds of reporting an average or above-average academic performance. Compared with boys who did not participate in any moderate PA, those who did so 1, 2, 3, 4, or ≥5 times a week also had greater odds of reporting an average or above-average academic performance. Interestingly, when compared with boys who did not participate in any strengthening exercises, those undertaking strengthening exercises ≥5 times a week had lesser odds of reporting a below-average academic performance. Compared with girls who did not regularly participate in any vigorous PA, those who did so ≥5 times a week had greater odds of reporting an average or above-average academic performance. Compared with girls who did not participate in any moderate PA, those that did so 2 or 3 times a week had greater odds of reporting an average or above-average academic performance. Interestingly, when compared with girls who did not regularly participate in any strengthening exercises, those undertaking strengthening exercises ≥5 times a week had lesser odds of reporting a below-average academic performance.
Conclusions
Our analyses of the relevant data from the KYRBWS-V suggested that vigorous PA was positively correlated with academic performance in the case of boys, and moderate PA was positively correlated with academic performance in both boys and girls. However, strengthening exercises were not positively correlated with academic performance in boys or girls. Furthermore, when undertaken 5 or more times a week, vigorous PA in boys and strengthening exercises in both boys and girls were negatively correlated with academic performance. The results from this study are potentially relevant to the development of future education policies in Korean schools, particularly with regard to early intervention strategies designed to identify and counteract potential factors contributing to academic underachievement.
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