Literature Review

Initiative Description: Two separate searches were performed to identify studies that focused on (1) cognition, learning, brain structure, and brain function; and (2) standardized achievement test performance and concentration/attention. PubMed, ERIC, PsychInfo, SportDiscus, Scopus, Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, and Embase were searched (January 1990- September 2014) for studies that met inclusion criteria. Sixty-four met inclusion criteria for the first search (cognition/learning/brain) and 73 studies met inclusion criteria for the second search (academic achievement/concentration).

Study Results: A majority of the research supports the view that physical fitness, single bouts of PA, and PA interventions benefit children’s cognitive functioning.

Reference: Donnelly, J. E., Hillman, C. H., Castelli, D., Etnier, J. L., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., Lambourne, K., … Szabo-Reed, A. N. (2016). Physical Activity, Fitness, Cognitive Function, and Academic Achievement in Children: A Systematic Review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 48(6), 1197-222.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good