The CPARG team recently published an article, “Longitudinal Associations of Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Poverty with Academic Performance Among Youth”. The article was published in the Journal of School Health, and Morgan Clennin served as the lead author. The study aimed to determine if changes in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) from elementary school (5th grade) to middle school (8th grade) were associated with academic performance (Math and English Language Arts) in 8th grade. The primary finding was that changes in CRF were significantly associated with students’ academic performance. Improvements in CRF were significantly associated with better academic performance in 8th grade.
Socioeconomic status was also found to be a significant and independent predictor of academic performance in 8th grade. In general, students with higher socioeconomic status in 5th grade had better academic performance in 8th grade. Importantly, improvements in CRF from 5th to 8th grade were associated with higher academic performance, regardless of poverty status. This study highlighted the importance of implementing evidence-based policies and programs within the school setting that optimize the quantity and quality of physical activity throughout the school day.