The Associations Between Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Academic Performance : A Twin Study
Aaltonen, S., Palviainen, T., Rose, R. J., Kujala, U. M., Kaprio, J., & Silventoinen, K. (2021). The Associations Between Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Academic Performance : A Twin Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 18(8), 998-1003. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2020-0746
Published inJournal of Physical Activity and Health
© 2022 Human Kinetics
Background: Both genetic and environmental influences have been shown to contribute to the association between physical activity and overall academic performance. The authors examined whether leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) shares genetic and environmental variances between spelling, essay writing, reading aloud, reading comprehension, and mathematics in early adolescence. Moreover, they investigated whether genetic polymorphisms associated with physical activity behavior affect these academic skills. Methods: Participants were 12-year-old Finnish twins (n = 4356–4370 twins/academic skill, 49% girls). Academic skills were assessed by teachers, and LTPA was self-reported. Polygenic scores for physical activity behavior were constructed from the UK Biobank. Quantitative genetic modeling and linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Results: The trait correlations between LTPA and academic skills were significant but weak (r = .05–.08). The highest trait correlation was found between LTPA and mathematics. A significant genetic correlation was revealed between LTPA and essay writing (rA = .14). Regarding polygenic scores of physical activity, the highest correlations were found with reading comprehension, spelling, and essay writing, but these results only approached statistical significance (P values = .09–.15). Conclusions: The authors’ results suggest that reading and writing are the academic skills that most likely share a common genetic background with LTPA. ...
PublisherHuman Kinetics Publishers
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Additional information about fundingThe research work has been supported by the Academy of Finland (grants 100499, 205585, 141054, 265240, 263278, 264146, and 312073 to J.K.), the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (U.M.K.), the Juho Vainio Foundation (S.A. and U.M.K.), and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (S.A.). Data collection of the FinnTwin12 study has been supported by the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (grants AA-12502, AA-00145, and AA-09203 to R.J.R.). ...
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