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Overeating and Underachieving:. The Effects of Physical Fitness on the Academic Achievement of Minority Students. An Action Research Project Chevonne Byas EDUC 7021 T Fall 2010. Table of Contents. Abstract Introduction Statement of Problem Review of Related Literature

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Overeating and underachieving

Overeating and Underachieving:

The Effects of Physical Fitness on the Academic Achievement of Minority Students

An Action Research Project

Chevonne Byas

EDUC 7021 T

Fall 2010

Table of contents
Table of Contents

  • Abstract

  • Introduction

    • Statement of Problem

    • Review of Related Literature

    • Statement of the Hypothesis

  • Method

    • Participants

    • Instruments

  • References


  • One in every three American child is obese or overweight.(Ogden& Carroll 2010)

  • The United States government invests millions of dollars a year into addressing childhood obesity. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

  • Children who suffer from obesity have several health risk including

    • high blood pressure

    • high cholesterol

    • type 2 diabetes

    • sleep apnea

    • depression

    • And more (Taras &Potts-Datema 2005; Wittberg et al 2009)

  • Obesity disproportionately affects minority populations. (Ogden & Carroll, 2010; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Introduction continued
Introduction (Continued)

  • When compared to other countries the U.S. students are mediocre. (U.S. Department of Education)

  • The education system has an achievement gap

    • That is minority students do not perform as well as other students.

      (Burton, L.J., & VanHeest,J.L.;2008, James B Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy)

  • Poor grades can be detrimental

    • Low self esteem (James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy)

    • Depression (Herman et al, 2008)

    • Behavioral problems (Johnson et al, 2005)

    • And more

Statement of the problem
Statement of the Problem

  • Physical education classes are being eliminated in the hopes of improving grades (Chomitz et al 2009,Taras & Potts-Datema 2005, Wittberg et al 2010)

    • despite the fact that studies suggest exercise improves cognitive ability.(Chomitz et al 2009,Ellemberg et al, 2010;Hillman et al, 2009; Tomporowski et al, 2008; )

  • This could be detrimental to both academic achievement and physical health.

  • This is particularly concerning when it comes to minority students, as they are typically are risk for both obesity and lower grades. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Review of related literature
Review of Related Literature


  • Studies have shown a positive relationship between physical activity and cognitive ability

    • Students perform higher on cognitive test taken immediately following aerobic exercise. (Boyle-Holmes et al 2010; Ellemberg et al, 2010;Hillman et al, 2009;Pesce et al, 2009; Tomporowski et al, 2008; )

  • Studies have shown a positive relationship between fitness and academic achievement.

    • That it the more physically fit a student is the higher they score on standardized exams.(Burton et al 2007; Castelli et al 2007;Grissom 2005;Taras et al 2005; Wittberg et al 2009; Wittberg et al 2010)


  • Studies are unable to show causality

    (Chomitz et al. 2009; Tomporowski et al, 2008; Wittberg et al 2010)

  • There are a limited amount of studies with large samples of minority students. (Wittberg, et al. 2010)


30 minutes of aerobic exercise will raise the scores of low income, minority first grade students in math and reading on the Terra Nova exam.


Burton, L.J., & VanHeest, J.L. (2007). The importance of physical activity in closing the achievement gap. Quest, 59, 212-218.

Boyle-Holmes, T, Grost, L, Russell, L, Laris, B.A., & Robin, L., Haller E., Potter S., Lee S. (2010). Promoting elementary physical education results of a school-based evaluation study. Health Education & Behavior, 37(3), 377-389.

Castelli, D.M., Hillman, C.H., Buck S.M. & Erwin, H.E. (2007). Physical fitness and academic achievement in third and fifth grade students. Journal of Sport Exercise Psychology, 29, 239-252.

Childhood obesity and academic outcome. (2008). James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational leadership and Policy

Chomitz, V.R., Slining, M.M., McGowan, R.J., Mitchell, S.E., Dawson, G.F. & Hacker K.A. (2009). Is there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement? positive results from public school children in tehbortheastern united states. Journal of School Health, 79(1), 30-37.

Ellemberg, D., & St-Louis-Deschenes, M. (2010). The effect of acute physical exercise on cognitive function during development. Psychology of Sport and Exercise , 11, 122-126.

Grissom, J.B. (2005). Physical fitness an academic achievement. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 8(1).

Herman, K.C., La,bert, S.F., Reinke, W.M., & Ialongo, N.S. (2008). Academic competence in first grade as a risk factor for depressive cogitations and symptoms in middle school. Journal of Counseling Psyhchology, 55(3), 400-410.

References continued
References (continued)

Hillman, C.H., Pontifex, M.B., Raine, L.B., Castelli, D.M., Hall, E.E & Kramer A.F. (2009). The effect of acute treadmill walking on cognitive control and academic achievement in preadolescent children . Neuroscience , 159, 1044-1054.

Johnson, W., McGue, M., & Iacono, W.G. (2005). disruptive behavior and school grades: genetic and environmental relations in 11-year-olds. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 391–405.

Ogden, C., & Carroll, M>. Centers for Deisease and Control Prevention, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. (2010). Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents: united states, trends 1963–1965 through 2007–2008. Washington, DC: Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_07_08/obesity_child_07_08.htm

Pesce, C., Croca, C., Cereatti, L., & Bellucci, M. (2009). Physical activity and mental performance in preadolescents: effects of acute exercise on free-recall memory. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2, 16-22.

Taras, H., & Potts-Datema, W. (2005). Obesity and student performance at school. Journal of School Health, 75(8), 291-295.

Tomporowski, P.D., Dacis, C.L., Miller, P.H. , & Naglieri, J.A. (2008). Exercise and children’s intelligence, cognition, and academic achievement. Education Psychol Rev, 20, 111-131.

Wittberg, R., Cottrel, L.A., Davis, C.L., & Northrup, K.L. (2010). Aerobic fitness thresholds associated with fifth grade academicachievement. American Journal of Health Education, 41(5), 284-291.

Wittberg, R., Northrup, K., & Cottrel, L. (2009). Children's physical fitness and academic performance. American Journal of Health Education, 2009(40), 1.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. (n.d.). Childhood obesity Washington, DC: Retrieved from http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/child_obesity/

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Services. (2009). Special analysis 2009 international assessments. Washington, DC: Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2009/analysis/