The relation of aerobic fitness to stroop task performance in preadolescent children

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Jan;40(1):166-72. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e318159b035.


Purpose: We investigated the relation between aerobic fitness and interference control--one component of executive control--in 74 children between 7 and 12 yr of age.

Method: Participants completed a paper-and-pencil version of the Stroop color-word task and the FITNESSGRAM, a valid and reliable test measuring different components of physical fitness (i.e., aerobic, muscle, and body composition). During each condition of the Stroop task (word, color, color-word), participants were instructed to read aloud as many items as possible in 45 s. Data were also collected on IQ and personal and health demographics to account for other factors influencing the relationship between fitness and executive function.

Results: Older children and those with higher IQ responded to more items correctly during each of the three conditions. Greater aerobic fitness was also associated with better performance on each of the three Stroop conditions independently of the other variables.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that increased levels of fitness may be beneficial to cognition during preadolescent development.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Composition
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / psychology
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Task Performance and Analysis