Date of Award

Fall 12-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Richard Speaker

Second Advisor

Dr. Marc Bonis

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia Austin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ann O'Hanlon


This research project intended to explore the possible relationship between physical activity and academic achievement in college students. Using an anonymous online survey, data was collected over two semesters. Ten thousand currently-enrolled college students ages eighteen and older from all states and recognized territories of the United States participated. The survey gathered data concerning a student’s age, gender, race, body weight, height, geographic region of college attendance, cumulative GPA, and physical activity level. The FIT Index of Kasari was used to classify each student’s physical activity level. A quintile split by FIT score was conducted to determine if physically active students were more successful academically than their inactive peers. Univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA), independent sample t-Test, and descriptive analysis were conducted on data pertaining to secondary research questions regarding FIT scores of students in each geographical region of college attendance, gender and race. The research found no statistically significant correlation existed between academic achievement and physical activity in college students. It found that students with very low and very high physical activity levels had lower academic achievement scores than students reporting moderate physical activity. There were significant differences in FIT scores of students in the northwest, but not among students in the southwest, northeast, or southeast. Significant differences in FIT scores were found to exist between males and females and between white and non-white college students. The research found a number of significant differences between groups within the quintile split of FIT score data regarding the primary research question.


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