Active Commute in Relation to Cognition and Academic Achievement in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Future Recommendations

Madhura Phansikar, Sadia Anjum Ashrafi, Naiman A. Khan, William V. Massey, Sean P. Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Active commuting to school (ACS) is an important source of physical activity among children. Recent research has focused on ACS and its benefits on cognition and academic achievement (AA), factors important for success in school. This review aims to synthesize literature on the relationship between ACS and cognition or AA among children and adolescents. Peer-reviewed articles in PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO and Cochrane Library assessing ACS with cognition and/or AA among children, until February 2019, were selected. Twelve studies across nine countries (age range 4–18.5 years) were included. One study used accelerometers, whereas all others used self-report measures of ACS. A wide range of objective assessments of cognitive functioning and AA domains were used. Five among eight studies, and four among six found a positive relationship between ACS and cognitive or AA measure, respectively. Four studies found dose–response relationships, and some studies found sex differences. The quantitative analysis found that ACS was not significantly associated with mathematics score (odds ratio = 1.18; CI = 0.40, 3.48). Findings are discussed in terms of methodological issues, potential confounders, and the strength of the evidence. Future studies should conduct longitudinal studies and use objective measures of ACS to understand this relationship further.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5103
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume16
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 13 2019

Keywords

  • active travel
  • walking
  • bicycling
  • executive function

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