2007 -2009 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
J. Tyler Bolin
Introduction: Significant research over the past 20 years has shown that the presence of physical activity in a person's daily routine leads to not only a healthier overall person but to a sharper mind. There is likely nowhere this could be tested as easily as on a University campus as many students do their best to stay fit and stay ahead in the classroom.
Methods: The relationship between physical activity and cognition was examined using the distribution of surveys to 174 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The participants were 129 females and 45 males, with an average age of 20.20 ± 2.41 and 21.33 ± 5.49 years, respectively. The surveys which were completed addressed their normal amount of physical activity, type of activity, GPA in the fall of 2008 as well as the amount of time they generally spent studying. 77% of the participants surveyed considered themselves to be physically active individuals.
Results: The small amount of participants (5%) that indicated they only participated in moderate physical activity once per month had the lowest average GPA (3.25) of any other group of participants. The highest GPA of any group based on frequency of exercise came from the 13% of participants that reported exercising 5-7 times per week, their average GPA was 3.41. It was also found that those who spend more than 15 hours per week studying had an average GPA of 3.71 while those who spent less than 5 hours per week studying had an average GPA of 3.11.
Conclusion: From the data collected one can see that both frequency of exercise and hours of studying have an effect on GPA. Based on the study it seems as if regular physical activity will play some type of role in affecting cognition as measured by GPA. It does seem that studying has a greater impact than physical activity but as long as an adequate amount of study is put in physical activity will benefit the student.