Thursday, August 27, 2015

WWC Review: Effects of the FITKids Randomized Controlled Trial on Executive Control and Brain Function”

What is this study about?

The study measured the impact of the Fitness Improves Thinking in Kids (FITKids) afterschool program on the executive control (i.e., maintaining focus, performing multiple cognitive processes) and physical fitness of preadolescent students. The FITKids program was held at a recreational facility on the University of Illinois’ campus and included 2 hours of activities after each school day. Each 2-hour session of the program included three components: a fitness component, a rest period with an educational component, and game play.

Study authors randomly assigned 221 students ages 7–9 to either participate in FITKids or to be in a business-as-usual comparison group. Students in the intervention group participated in FITKids after school, while students in the comparison group did not participate in the program. Executive control was measured before and after the FITKids program by assessing students’ response accuracy and response time on two tasks. Study authors also measured fitness levels of students in FITKids and the comparison group both before and after the intervention.

What did the study find?

The study authors found that the FITKids program increased accuracy in the attentional inhibition task and accuracy in the more difficult portion of the cognitive flexibility task. However, the WWC did not confirm this finding to be statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. The study also showed a statistically significant positive impact for one subscale of the attentional inhibition task, and the WWC confirmed this finding to be statistically significant. Additionally, the study authors found that FITKids had a statistically significant positive effect on aerobic fitness. Moreover, BMI for students in FITKids increased by a smaller amount than for students not in the program, and this result was statistically significant. The WWC confirmed the findings for aerobic fitness and BMI.

WWC Rating

Meets WWC group design standards without reservations. Read review here,


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