Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2016


Physical activity and cognition has not been extensively studied in preschool children. Purpose: To determine the association between physical activity and cognition in preschool children. Methods: Participants were 18 young children (3–5 years old) enrolled in a Head Start preschool program. Physical activity was assessed using an Actigraph accelerometer placed on the child’s hip. The device was worn at school for at least three hours on three separate days during the week. Accelerometer data were categorized as sedentary or active (light, moderate, and vigorous intensity). Cognitive function, specifically working memory, was assessed using the Corsi Block-Tapping Test. The number of buttons in the sequence that were correctly pressed (taps correct) was used to determine working memory. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlations. Results: Children spent on average 87.4% of their monitored time in sedentary behaviors and 12.6% of the time physically active. The average number of taps correct was 10.1+9.8 during the Corsi test. There was a significant correlation between the amount of physical activity the children engaged in and the number of taps correct (r=0.61; p<0.05). Conclusion: This association suggests that increased physical activity levels at school could lead to improved cognition and performance in the school setting.

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