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The indirect and direct pathways between physical fitness and academic achievement on commencement in post-compulsory education in a historical cohort of Danish school youth

Version 2 2024-06-19, 12:15
Version 1 2022-05-30, 10:51
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-19, 12:15 authored by MP Andersen, L Starkopf, M Sessa, RN Mortensen, H Vardinghus-Nielsen, H Bøggild, T Lange, C Torp-Pedersen
Background: Some studies have found positive associations between physical fitness and academic achievements. Pupils' academic achievements should indicate scholastic abilities to commence a post-compulsory education. However, the effect magnitude of physical fitness and academic achievements on commencement in post-compulsory education is unknown. We examined the pathways between physical fitness and academic achievement on pupils' commencement in post-compulsory education. Methods: This historical cohort study followed 530 girls and 554 boys from the Danish municipality of Aalborg in the period 2008-2014, 13 to 15 years old in 2010. Physical fitness was assessed through a watt-max cycle ergometer test represented as VO2max (mL·kg-1·min-1). Academic achievement, commencement status and information on covariates were obtained from Danish nationwide registers. Causal inference based mediation analysis was used to investigate the indirect and direct pathways by separating the total effect of physical fitness on post-compulsory education commencement. Results: Adjusting for sex, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, the overall mediation analysis showed an odds ratio (OR) of 1.87 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.30; 2.73) for the total effect, corresponding to an increase in odds of post-compulsory education commencement when the physical fitness was increased by 10 units of VO2max. The separated total effect showed a natural direct OR of 1.36 (95% CI: 0.93; 1.98) and a natural indirect (i.e., through academic achievement) OR of 1.37 (95% CI: 1.20; 1.57). Thus, 51% (95% CI: 27%; 122%) of the effect of physical fitness on post-compulsory education commencement was mediated through academic achievement. Conclusion: Physical fitness had a positive effect on post-compulsory education commencement. A substantial part of this effect was mediated through academic achievement.

History

Journal

BMC Public Health

Volume

17

Article number

699

Pagination

1-10

Location

London, Eng.

eISSN

1471-2458

Language

eng

Notes

Correction to the spelling of the second author was made in an Erratum that was later published

Publisher

BioMed Central

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