JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relationship between attainment of recommended physical activity guidelines and academic achievement: undergraduate students in Egypt

Walid El Ansari, Christiane Stock
Global Journal of Health Science 2014, 6 (5): 274-83
25169005

INTRODUCTION: We assessed and compared by gender, students' achievement of recommended guidelines of four PA forms, and the association between guideline achievement of each of the four PA forms and students' academic performance.

METHODS: Data (2009-2010) comprised 3,271 students (11 faculties) at Assiut University, Egypt. A self-administered questionnaire measured: moderate PA (MPA), vigorous PA (VPA), moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA), muscle-strengthening PA; five socio-demographic variables (gender, age, year of study, father's education, living arrangements during semester); self-rated health; and, academic performance. We compared the levels of four PA forms, socio-demographic variables, and academic performance by gender. Binary logistic regression examined the factors associated with achieving the guidelines of the four PA forms. Linear regression examined the association between frequency of four PA forms and level of academic performance.

RESULTS: Nearly equal proportions of males and females (37%, 36%) achieved the MPA guidelines. Significantly more males achieved the VPA, MVPA, and muscle strengthening PA guidelines. Father's education was positively associated with achieving all four PA guidelines (with each increasing educational achievement of the father, student's odds of achieving PA guidelines increased by 7-9%). Students living with their parents or room mates off campus were more likely to achieve the VPA and MVPA guidelines. Students who achieved VPA and MVPA guidelines were more likely to report better academic performance. For all PA forms (except MPA), increasing academic achievement was positively associated with increasing frequency of PA, but standardised Beta (0.05-0.07) suggested a modest correlation between academic achievement and PA frequency.

CONCLUSION: The linear association between frequency of PA and academic achievement, and the finding that the proportions of students who achieved the recommended levels of several forms of PA were below half of the sample call for higher engagement of universities in fostering PA and active lifestyle among students.

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