BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Multi-level meta-analysis of physical activity interventions during childhood: effects of physical activity on cognition and academic achievement

    Vasilopoulos, Fotini and Jeffrey, H. and Wu, Y. and Dumontheil, Iroise (2023) Multi-level meta-analysis of physical activity interventions during childhood: effects of physical activity on cognition and academic achievement. Educational Psychology Review , ISSN 1040-726X.

    [img] Text
    51273.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only

    Download (2MB)
    51273a.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (2MB) | Preview
    Link to Research Data:


    There is evidence that physical activity positively influences cognition and academic outcomes in childhood. This systematic review used a three-level meta-analytic approach, which handles nested effect sizes, to assess the impact of physical activity interventions. Ninety-two randomised control trials in typically developing children (5-12 years old, N = 25,334) were identified. Control group type and intervention characteristics including duration, frequency and teacher qualification were explored as potential moderators. Results showed physical activity interventions improved on-task behaviour with a large effect size (g = 1.04, p = 0.03 (95% CI: 0.08 – 2.00), very low-certainty evidence) and led to moderate improvements in creativity (g = 0.70, p < 0.01 (0.20 – 1.20), low-certainty evidence). Small beneficial effects were found for fluid intelligence (g = 0.16, p = 0.03 (0.02, 0.30), moderate-certainty evidence) and working memory (g = 0.18, p = 0.01 (0.07 – 0.29) very low-certainty evidence) but no overall benefit was observed for attention, inhibitory control, planning, cognitive flexibility or academic outcomes. Heterogeneity was high and moderator analyses indicated beneficial effects of PA with academic instruction of 6 – 10-week duration with moderate or moderate to vigorous intensity on mathematics outcomes and enriched PA programmes on language outcomes. In contrast, aerobic PA with moderate to vigorous intensity benefitted executive function outcomes. These results therefore suggest differential mechanisms of impact of different types of PA on different aspects of cognition.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD), Educational Neuroscience, Centre for
    Depositing User: Iroise Dumontheil
    Date Deposited: 30 May 2023 12:59
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:21


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item