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Physical education, obesity, and academic achievement: a 2-year longitudinal investigation of Australian elementary school children

journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2012, 00:00 authored by R D Telford, R B Cunningham, R Fitzgerald, Lisa OliveLisa Olive, L Prosser, X Jiang, R M Telford
OBJECTIVES: We determined whether physical education (PE) taught by specialists contributed to academic development and prevention of obesity in elementary school children. METHODS: Our 2-year longitudinal study involved 620 boys and girls initially in grade 3 in Australia, all receiving 150 minutes per week of PE. One group (specialist-taught PE; n = 312) included 90 minutes per week of PE from visiting specialists; the other (common-practice PE; n = 308) received all PE from generalist classroom teachers. Measurements included percentage of body fat (measured by dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry) and writing, numeracy, and reading proficiency (by government tests). RESULTS: Compared with common-practice PE, specialist-taught PE was associated with a smaller increase in age-related percentage of body fat (P = .02). Specialist-taught PE was also associated with greater improvements in numeracy (P < .03) and writing (P = .13) scores. There was no evidence of a reading effect. CONCLUSIONS: The attenuated age-related increases in percentage of body fat and enhanced numeracy development among elementary school children receiving PE from specialists provides support for the role of PE in both preventive medicine and academic development.

History

Journal

American journal of public health

Volume

102

Issue

2

Pagination

368 - 374

Publisher

American Public Health Association

Location

United States

ISSN

0090-0036

eISSN

1541-0048

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, American Public Health Association