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How are academic achievement and inhibitory control associated with physical fitness, soil-transmitted helminth infections, food insecurity and stunting among South African primary schoolchildren?

Gerber, Markus and Lang, Christin and Beckmann, Johanna and du Randt, Rosa and Gall, Stefanie and Seelig, Harald and Long, Kurt Z. and Ludyga, Sebastian and Müller, Ivan and Nienaber, Madeleine and Nqweniso, Siphesihle and Pühse, Uwe and Steinmann, Peter and Utzinger, Jürg and Walter, Cheryl. (2021) How are academic achievement and inhibitory control associated with physical fitness, soil-transmitted helminth infections, food insecurity and stunting among South African primary schoolchildren? BMC Public Health, 21 (1). p. 852.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/83924/

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Abstract

Cardiovascular fitness has been associated with both executive function and academic achievement in multiple cohort studies including children and adolescents. However, research is scarce among children from low- and middle-income countries. Hence, this paper focuses on South African primary schoolchildren living in marginalized areas and examines if academic achievement and inhibitory control can be explained by children's age, socioeconomic status, soil-transmitted helminth infections, food insecurity, stunting, grip strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness.; The sample of this cross-sectional study consisted of 1277 children (48% girls, mean age: 8.3 years). Data were assessed via questionnaires, stool samples, anthropometric measurements, 20 m shuttle run test, grip strength test, Flanker task, and school grades. Data were analysed with mixed linear regression models with random intercepts for school classes, separately for boys and girls.; Higher socioeconomic status was most closely associated with academic achievement among boys (p < 0.05), whereas higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and not being stunted explained most variance in academic achievement in girls (p < 0.05). Higher age turned out to be associated with better performance in the Flanker task (p < 0.01). Additionally, in boys, higher grip strength was associated with better information processing and inhibitory control of attention (p < 0.01), whereas in girls, higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels were positively associated with these cognitive abilities (p < 0.05).; Academic performance has been shown to be compromised in schoolchildren living in marginalised areas, compared to schoolchildren in less disadvantaged parts of South Africa. The present study suggests that cardiorespiratory fitness and grip strength are two potentially modifiable factors that are associated with children's academic achievement and cognitive performance, and that should be targeted in future school-based interventions.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Sport, Bewegung und Gesundheit > Bereich Sportwissenschaft
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Sport, Bewegung und Gesundheit > Bereich Sportwissenschaft > Sport und psychosoziale Gesundheit (Gerber)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Health Impact Assessment (Utzinger)
UniBasel Contributors:Gerber, Markus and Lang, Christin and Beckmann, Johanna and Gall, Stefanie and Seelig, Harald and Ludyga, Sebastian and Müller, Iwan Martin and Pühse, Uwe and Steinmann, Peter and Utzinger, Jürg
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:BioMed Central
e-ISSN:1471-2458
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:31 Aug 2021 10:57
Deposited On:31 Aug 2021 10:57

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