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ERIC Number: ED531296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
What Works Clearinghouse Quick Review of the Report "Exercise Improves Executive Function and Achievement and Alters Brain Activation in Overweight Children: A Randomized, Controlled Trial"
What Works Clearinghouse
The study examined whether exercise offered to sedentary, overweight children ages 7 to 11 improved executive function--defined as strategy execution when presented with a novel task--and academic performance in reading and math. The study authors analyzed data on about 170 students from Georgia who were recruited in five cohorts from 2003 to 2006. Of all students who participated, 56% were female, and 61% were African American. Students in the study sample were assigned randomly to one of three treatments: a low-dose exercise program, a high-dose exercise program, or no program. The study found that students assigned to the high-dose exercise program had statistically significantly higher math achievement and executive function than students not in an exercise program. The What Works Clearinghouse's (WWC) calculations indicate the magnitude of the difference is approximately 0.30 standard deviations in math and 0.24 standard deviations in executive function, which is roughly equivalent to moving a student from the 50th to the 62nd percentile in math and from the 50th to the 60th percentile in executive function. Reading achievement was not significantly different between students assigned to the high-dose exercise program and students assigned to no program. In addition, there were no statistically significant differences in executive function or in reading and math achievement between students assigned to the low-dose exercise program and students assigned to no program. The research described in this report meets WWC evidence standards. (Contains 2 footnotes.) [The following study is the focus of this "Quick Review": Davis, C. L., Tomporowski, P. D., McDowell, J. E., Austin, B. P., Miller, P. H., Yanasak, N. E., Allison, J. D., & Naglieri, J. A. (2011). "Exercise improves executive function and achievement and alters brain activation in overweight children: A randomized, controlled trial". "Health Psychology", 30(1), 91-98.]
What Works Clearinghouse. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 866-503-6114; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: What Works Clearinghouse (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Cognitive Assessment System; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement
IES Funded: Yes