The article Physical Activity and Sports Team Participation: Association with Academic Outcomes in Middle School and High School Students is a research report that describes a study conducted to determine the effect of physical activity on academic achievement. It is a remarkably comprehensive report that takes the reader through the purpose of the study, the method, including the data collection and analysis, and the findings of the research. Finally, it gives a detailed discussion that explains most of the numeric and statistical jargon that is in the data analysis section.
The research was unique in that it sought to separate the effects of team participation and individual physical activity. One of them was a confounding factor. There have been several similar studies, which proved that there was indeed a relationship between physical activity and academic grades. However, other studies did not identify any such relationship, as seen in Fisher, Juszczak, and Friedman’s study. However, this was mostly on minority groups with almost 69% of the sample being African American. Moreover, it did not distinguish between participation in sports in a team context, and individual physical activity outside the setting of a sports team.
The author of the article believes that, based on the outcomes of the research, participation in team sports has a positive impact on students’ GPA. This follows his findings that indicated this result for middle school boys and high school boys and girls (Fox et al., 2010, p.34). However, the studies do not indicate whether these better grades arose from the mandatory grade requirements for eligibility to participate in sports or they were due to the peer attitude, including the coaches’ on academic achievement. He recommends further studies into these confounding variables to analyze the true position. The author gives statistical data to present the main ideas. He also defines the terminologies used in research as a way of avoiding ambiguity.
For instance, on the matter of physical activity, he describes ‘vigorous’ as “heart beats rapidly.” This simplification enables the reader to understand the concept he is trying to present. The author also cited models used in previous studies. For instance, the entire study turns on data drawn from “Project EAT (Eating among Teens)”, which was a survey conducted on high school and middle school teenagers. He also uses the uses the Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ) to measure physical activity.
Among the strengths mentioned in the report are the generalizability of the data collected due to the large and diverse sample used, and the separation between physical activity and team participation, which made it possible to analyze the effect of each variable on academic achievements. The weaknesses of the study included the imprecision of the physical activity measure, which further complicates the analysis of the exact effects of physical activities on academic performance, and the self-reported student grades, which may be inaccurate due to misrepresentation. The principal recommendation given is that future studies should identify a “causal relationship between physical activity and academic performance” ((Fox et al., 2010, p.36).
The author wrote an extraordinarily comprehensible article, which was fluent and easy to read. The information provided was indispensable to me because it made me aware that physical activity does more than keeping me healthy. It can also better my grades. This information is immensely practical, as it is applicable in the management of obesity and poor performance in schools. That was one idea I found fascinating. I would like to get a better understanding of how physical activity improves grades. It is an exceptionally enlightening article, which I would recommend for all readers.
Fox, et al. (2010). Physical Activity and Sports Team Participation: Association with Academic Outcomes in Middle School and High School Students. Journal of School of Health, 80(1),31-37.