Effects of health-related physical education on academic achievement: project SPARK

Res Q Exerc Sport. 1999 Jun;70(2):127-34. doi: 10.1080/02701367.1999.10608030.


The effects of a 2-year health-related school physical education program on standardized academic achievement scores was assessed in 759 children who completed Metropolitan Achievement Tests before and after the program. Schools were randomly assigned to condition: (a) Specialists taught the Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids curriculum; (b) classroom teachers were trained to implement the curriculum; and (c) controls continued their usual programs. The Trained Teacher condition was superior to Control on Language, Reading, and Basic Battery. The Specialist condition was superior to Control on Reading, but inferior on Language. Despite devoting twice as many minutes per week to physical education as Controls, the health-related physical education program did not interfere with academic achievement. Health-related physical education may have favorable effects on students' academic achievement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Child
  • Curriculum*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training*