Impact of Physical Activity and Sports on Academic Achievement of Students in Primary and Secondary Schools in Osijek-Baranja County, Croatia
Introduction: The study aimed to examine the prevalence of sports outside of regular school classes among primary and secondary school students. The secondary aim was to study the correlation of physical activity, students’ socioeconomic status and parents’ level of education with students’ educational outcomes.
Material and Methods: Data were collected from medical records of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance in the Osijek-Baranja County and through regular physical examination of students in the fifth and eighth grade of primary school and the first grade of secondary school.
Results: Over a 5-year period, 120 boys and 141 girls were examined; 66.28% of the students were involved in sports activities in the fifth grade, 49.04% were involved in sports in the eighth grade, and in the first grade, 43.68% of students were involved in sports. No statistically significant differences were observed in the seventh and eighth grade of primary school (p = 0.076) and in the first grade of secondary school (p = 0.057). Students in the seventh and eighth grade who played sports had slightly higher grades (4.45 ± 0.68) compared to those who did not participate in sports activities (4.3 ± 0.69). Similar results were obtained for students who were involved in sports in the first grade of secondary school, who had achieved slightly better results in the seventh grade (4.41 ± 0.69) compared to those who did not participate in sports activities (4.41 ± 0,69).
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that physical activity in children could be associated with better school performance, which may have implications for sports having positive health benefits in both childhood and adulthood.
(Vučić A, Bilić-Kirin V. The Impact of Physical Activity and Sports on Academic Achievement of Students in Primary and Secondary Schools in Osijek-Baranja County, Croatia. SEEMEDJ 2020; 4(2); 97-107)