An Examination of the Relationship Between Body Size, Engagement in Physical Activity, and Visuospatial Ability in Children

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Gunn, Rachel Nicole
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Middle Tennessee State University
Research indicates a relationship between obesity and physical activity, such that higher Body Mass Indices are associated with less physical activity. There also appears to be a possible positive relationship between physical activity and cognitive skills, and a negative relationship between obesity and cognitive skills (e.g., inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and visual spatial processing: VSP). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between body size, physical activity, and VSP in school-aged children. Forty children completed assessments including anthropometrics, two tests of visual perception (Arrows: AW and Geometric Puzzles: GP), and a physical activity measure. Results indicated that AW and GP were significantly positively correlated; AW was not significantly correlated with physical activity. Furthermore, AW was a significant predictor of body size, but neither physical activity nor GP were. The results suggest a potential relationship between visuoperception and body size in children that future research should continue to clarify.
Body size, Children, Cognitive function, Physical activity, Visual spatial processing