Effects of aerobic exercise on overweight children's cognitive functioning: A randomized controlled trial

Catherine Lucy Davis, Phillip D. Tomporowski, Mathew Gregoski, Colleen A. Boyle, Jennifer L Waller, Patricia H. Miller, Jack A. Naglieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

186 Scopus citations


The study tested the effect of aerobic exercise training on executive function in overweight children. Ninety-four sedentary, overweight but otherwise healthy children (mean age = 9.2 years, body mass index 85th percentile) were randomized to a low-dose (20 min/day exercise), high-dose (40 min/day exercise), or control condition. Exercise sessions met 5 days/week for 15 weeks. The Cognitive Assessment System (CAS), a standardized test of cognitive processes, was administered individually before and following intervention. Analysis of covariance on posttest scores revealed effects on executive function. Group differences emerged for the CAS Planning scale (p = .03). Planning scores for the high-dose group were significantly greater than those of the control group. Exercise may prove to be a simple, yet important, method of enhancing aspects of children's mental functioning that are central to cognitive and social development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Developmental psychology
  • Executive functioning, obesity
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology

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