Flexibility is better predictor of academic performance than endurance capacity in Japanese children

  • K. Yamatsu


Background: Previous research suggested that higher physical fitness were associated with better academic performance (AP) in children and adolescents (Coe et al., 2006; Hillman et al., 2008). But it is unknown which fitness predict better AP. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between endurance capacity, flexibility and AP in Japanese children. Methods: Participants were 140 (mean age: 13.0+/-0.9, female: 49.3%, mean body mass index [BMI]: 19.7+/-3.0) 1st to 3rd grade (7th to 9th grade in USA) students of public junior high schools near the Saga Prefecture. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was measured by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Physical fitness and AP (school grade) scores were received from school records. The endurance capacity was measured by 20-m shuttle run, and flexibility was evaluated by sit and reach. These fitness tests were authorized by Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The sum total of the 7 subjects grades (Japanese, social studies, math, science, English, music, arts) were used as AP scores. Findings: Using multiple regression analysis that controlled for several covariates (gender, MVPA, Cram school utilization), flexibility score (beta=0.235, p<0.01) was more significantly associated with AP than endurance capacity score (beta=0.172, p=0.056). Discussions: More flexibility was more strongly influenced with better AP than endurance capacity among Japanese junior high school students. Acknowledgements: This study was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP26282188 and JP15K12723 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
Poster presentations