A correlational study on physical activity and GPA among college students


  • Tobias C. Whitford Florida State University


Studies have documented positive effects of physical activity on a variety of outcomes, including academic performance. However, other studies report mixed or null results, mostly based on samples of high school students or post-graduates. The current, novel study examined physical activity and grade point average (GPA) in a sample of undergraduate students at the Florida State University. This association was tested using a survey distributed to students online. Respondents (n = 200) reported on their GPA and answered questions on engagement in physical activity and other health behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, alcohol use, etc.) and variables (i.e. personality and psychological symptoms) potentially associated with both GPA and physical exercise. They also completed a cognitive test. Contrary to what expected, the analyses indicated a non-significant correlation between time spent in vigorous or moderate physical activities and GPA, when controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity and years in college. GPA was also unrelated to cognitive performance and other health behaviors. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and explore associations between study variables longitudinally, over the course of the four years of college.

Author Biography

Tobias C. Whitford, Florida State University

Tobias Whitford is currently lead sixth-grade science teacher at Harlem North Central, Success Academy in New York City. Tobias graduated from Florida State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. He enjoys weightlifting, hanging out with friends (pre-pandemic), and spending time with his family. Tobias is currently applying to medical school where he hopes to study Oncology or Geriatrics.






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