2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Objective: Research has found that there is a positive correlation between regular physical activity and improved cognitive function, improved mental health, reduced risk-taking behaviors and improved overall health.
Methods: The relationship between regular physical activity, type of physical activity, study habits and GPA was investigated in 200 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. Participants included 154 females (age 20.7 ± 1.266 years) and 42 males (age 23.9 ± 1.386) who completed surveys regarding their study habits, GPA for the past semester and overall GPA, type(s) of physical activity, frequency of physical activity, average overall energy level and stress levels after performing physical activity. The average body mass index for females was 22.164 kg/m2 ± 2.439kg/m2 and for males was 25.287 kg/m2 ± 3.544kg/m2, both averages falling in the normal range for healthy young adults.
Results: 85.5% percent of students reported doing some form of physical activity on a regular basis. The average fall 2009 GPA for students who reported engaging in some form of regular activity was 3.528 ± 0.441(on a 4.0 grading scale). This was significantly higher (p=0.005) than the fall 2009 GPA average for sedentary students, which was 3.238 ± 0.545. Furthermore, students who reported being regularly physically active had a significantly higher (p=0.001) cumulative GPA average of 3.414 ± 0.370, compared to the sedentary students' average of 3.146 ± 0.437.
Conclusion: It was found that students who engaged in regular physical activity had a higher average GPA for the fall 2009 semester and overall than those who did not engage in any type of regular physical activity. Although engaging in regular physical activity was shown to have a positive effect on the study habits/GPA's of college students, students still need to be further educated on the importance of engaging in regular physical activity for their mental, physical and emotional well-beings.