The effects of daily physical activity on student academic achievement and physical health
The purpose of this study was to discover if daily physical activity affects students' academic achievement on standardized tests and their physical health as measured by their body composition, body mass index, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants in this study. The experimental group consisted of 17 fourth-grade students who attend a rural Indiana school. The control group for this study consisted of 20 fourth-grade students who attend the same rural Indiana elementary school.After parental permission forms were returned from students in the experimental group, those 17 students participated in the daily physical activity program that met for approximately 20 minutes each day from January 31, 2002 through April 12, 2002. The researcher taught the daily physical activity program that involved aerobic activities during which the students wore heart rate monitors to help them monitor their heart rates. The goal for each activity time was for the students to maintain a heart rate between 150 and 200 beats per minute. The focus of the daily physical activity program was on cardiovascular wellness. The control group consisted of 20 students who participated in their school's regular physical education program offered one day a week for 45 minutes. During the time that the experimental group participated in the daily physical activity program, the students in the control group were at recess where they could participate in unstructured activities of their choice.Data was collected and compared from standardized test scores, and health data provided by an independent organization, The Caylor Nickel Foundation, to determine if there was a significant difference between the control group and experimental group in their academic achievement and physical health factors.Univariate analyses of variance (ANOVA) were used to determine any significant differences between the groups (p =.05). The results indicated no significant difference between the control and experimental groups in academic achievement as measured by the NWEA Test in the areas of language, reading, and math. No significant difference was found in the cholesterol levels or the diastolic blood pressure of the two groups of students. A significant difference was found between the groups in their body composition, body mass index and systolic blood pressure. It was found that the experimental group had healthier results in their body composition, body mass index, and lower systolic blood pressure levels.