Academic performance of the most and least physically efficient children Dr. Gregor Starc and Maša Gril and Primož Černilec
Summary: Existing scientific evidence indicates that physical activity is one of the basic prerequisites for brain development and consequentially high academic performance by children and youth, yet the predominant learning patterns in school and at home are sedentary. In a case study of the most and least physically efficient children in classes three to nine at one primary school, we sought to establish whether physical efficiency, determined by the physical efficiency index of the SLOfit - Sports Educational Chart, correlates with academic achievement, determined by the mean of all grades and separately the mean of the mathematic grade. Even controlling for sex and socio-economic status, the analysis showed that the most physically efficient children achieve statistically significantly higher mean grades in all subjects and in mathematics specifically than the physically least efficient children. The results suggest that the physical efficiency index, which can be determined for every child in Slovenia, can serve as a useful indicator of an individual’s academic achievement. Moreover, indirectly, this finding substantiates the logic of enhancing physical activity and limiting sedentary time both in school and at home to increase the beneficial effects of learning.