Differences in health-related physical fitness and academic school performance in male middle school students in Qatar: a preliminary study

Souhail Hermassi*, Lawrence D. Hayes, Nilihan Sanal-Hayes, René Schwesig

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study examined the differences in the level of physical fitness and academic performance among male middle-school children based on different body status categories. A total of 69 male children [age: 12.4 ± 0.7 years; body mass: 58.5 ± 7.2 kg; height: 1.62 ± 0.09 m; and body mass index (BMI): 22.4 ± 3.3 kg/m 2 ] participated and were divided into BMI age-adjusted groups (i.e., lowest, middle, and highest BMI). Height, mass, BMI, stork test of static balance, 10 and 15 m sprint as an indicator for speed, hand-grip strength test, agility T-half test, medicine ball throw (MBT), and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) were assessed. School records were retrieved for grade point averages (GPA) of mathematics, science, and Arabic. We found significant group differences regarding anthropometric (height: η p 2 = 0.24, mass: η p 2 = 0.33, and BMI: η p 2 = 0.66), physical (sprint 10 m: η p 2 = 0.26), and academic (mathematics: η p 2 = 0.19 and science: η p 2 = 0.15) performance parameters. The largest difference (p < 0.001) was observed between the lowest and highest group for the 10 m sprint. All pairwise differences were between the lowest and highest BMI group or the lowest and middle BMI group. No relevant (r > 0.5) correlation between parameters of different dimensions (e.g., anthropometric vs. physical performance parameters) was found. In conclusion, the highest BMI group exhibited similar physical and academic performances than the lowest group. Thus, these data emphasize the importance and appropriateness to engage young Qatari schoolchildren in physical activity as it associates with superior academic performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number791337
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • anthropometrics
  • achievement
  • academic performance
  • GPA
  • schoolchild

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