Ingeborg Barth Vedøy, Sigmund Anderssen, Hege Tjomsland and Knut Skulberg
Physical activity is generally promoted for its positive effect on young people’s physical health. A growing body of evidence shows that physical activity may have positive effects on several mental health outcomes. There is also a strong belief that regular physical activity could contribute to enhanced academic achievement. Longitudinal studies exploring these associations, however, are relatively rare. There is also a need for studies exploring possible explanatory mechanisms for these relationships at both a school and individual level. The project aims to understand how physical activity might be related to mental health and academic achievement, and the role of schools therein.
The project will track pupils from 11 schools annually, from 8th grade to 10th grade. An online questionnaire will be used to collect data relating to key domains in young people’s lives, for example: health and health complaints; mental health; school and learning environment; leisure activities; relationships with family and peers. Physical activity will be measured objectively using accelerometry. Anthropological measurements will also be taken. School grades will be used as an outcome measure of achievement.