Physical activity in childhood linked to later success in education and job prospects


A new study published in the Jyväskylä Studies in Business and Economics has found that people who were physically active as children have higher educational achievement and incomes as adult. The study author suggests that greater incomes are linked with greater self-reported physical activity.

  • The study analyzed the links between leisure-time physical activity, educational attainment, and labor market outcomes during different stages of life.
  • Being physically active during childhood may play a role in the education and earnings of an individual.
  • The study author drew the data of the thesis from the ongoing longitudinal Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS) with more than 3,500 participants who were children and teenagers and from registries collected by Statistics Finland.
  • The participants’ physical activity from different stages of life, such as frequency of leisure-time physical activity, participation in sports training, and participation in sports competition, were assessed.
  • Their information on education and labor market outcomes were analyzed by linking the YFS data with the Finnish Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data (FLEED) of Statistics Finland.
  • Physically active children had about half a unit higher grade-point-average at the end of their basic education in comparison to those who were less physically active.
  • In adulthood, those who were physically active during childhood had around one extra year of education compared with those who were less active.
  • In addition, they had greater long-term earnings on average and better jobs compared to the less physically active.
  • The study author believes that childhood physical activity could be an investment for later success in education and work.

Overall, the study shows that higher physical activity during childhood leads to a better educational achievement and attainment and higher earnings.

Journal Reference

Jaana Kari. CHILDHOOD PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS POSITIVELY RELATED TO EDUCATIONAL AND LABOR MARKET SUCCESS. Jyväskylä Studies in Business and Economics, 2018; 184 http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7326-1



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