Independent associations of organized physical activity and weight status with children's cognitive functioning: A matched-pairs design

Catherine L. Davis, Joseph P. Tkacz, Phillip D. Tomporowski, Eduardo E. Bustamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study tested whether participation in organized physical activity (active vs. inactive) or weight status (normal weight vs. overweight or obese) independently relate to children's cognition, using a matchedpairs design. Design and Methods: Normal weight, active children (8-11 yrs, 5th-75th percentile BMI) were recruited from extracurricular physical activity programs while normal weight inactive (5th-75th percentile BMI) and overweight inactive children (BMI ≥85th percentile) were recruited from local Augusta, Georgia area schools. Measures included the Cognitive Assessment System, anthropometrics, and parent- and self-report of physical activity. Paired t tests compared cognition scores between matched groups of normal weight active vs. normal weight inactive (N = 24 pairs), normal weight inactive vs. overweight inactive (N = 21 pairs), and normal weight active vs. overweight inactive children (N = 16 pairs). Children in each comparison were matched for race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status. Results: Normal weight active children had higher Planning (M± SD = 109 ± 11 vs. 100 ± 11, p = .011) and Attention scores (108 ± 11 vs. 100 ± 11, p = .013) than overweight inactive children. Normal weight inactive children had higher Attention scores than overweight inactive children (105 ± 13 vs. 93 ± 12, p = .008). When compared with normal weight inactive children, normal weight active children had higher Planning (113 ± 10 vs. 102 ± 13, p = .008) and marginally higher Attention scores (111 ± 11 vs. 104 ± 12, p = .06). Conclusion: Findings suggest independent associations of children's weight status with selective attention, and physical activity with higher-order processes of executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-487
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Exercise Science
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Cognition
  • Executive function
  • Overweight
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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