Physical activity, physical fitness and academic achievement in adolescents: A self-organizing maps approach

Maite Pellicer-Chenoll, Xavier Garcia-Massó, Jose Morales, Pilar Serra-Añó, Mònica Solana-Tramunt, Luis Millán González, Jose Luis Toca-Herrera

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship among physical activity, physical fitness and academic achievement in adolescents has been widely studied; however, controversy concerning this topic persists. The methods used thus far to analyse the relationship between these variables have included mostly traditional lineal analysis according to the available literature. The aim of this study was to perform a visual analysis of this relationship with self-organizing maps and to monitor the subject's evolution during the 4 years of secondary school. Four hundred and forty-four students participated in the study. The physical activity and physical fitness of the participants were measured, and the participants' grade point averages were obtained from the five participant institutions. Four main clusters representing two primary student profiles with few differences between boys and girls were observed. The clustering demonstrated that students with higher energy expenditure and better physical fitness exhibited lower body mass index (BMI) and higher academic performance, whereas those adolescents with lower energy expenditure exhibited worse physical fitness, higher BMI and lower academic performance. With respect to the evolution of the students during the 4 years, ∼25% of the students originally clustered in a negative profile moved to a positive profile, and there was no movement in the opposite direction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-448
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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