Meta-analysis of movement-based interventions to aid academic and behavioral outcomes: A taxonomy of relevance and integration

Publication Name

Educational Research Review


The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effects of movement strategies during academic time, on children's and adolescents' cognitive processing, memory, behavioral control, and academic skills. We used a 2 × 2 design to categorize studies, based on their level of integration with (low vs. high) and relevance to the learning content (low vs high). Meta-analyses were conducted per overarching outcome constructs. Age was explored as a potential moderator. A total of 83 studies involving 25,641 participants were included. The high integration-high relevance movement strategy applied in longer-term (i.e., chronic) physical activity interventions had positive effects with the largest effect (ES = 0.94) on memory. The low integration-low relevance movement strategy had large effects on behavioral control measures for longer-term physical activity (ES = 1.42) and single (i.e., acute) bouts of physical activity; ES = 1.15). A nuanced pattern of results emerged in the other categories (high-low and low-high). A theory-based mapping of studies was used to disentangle the effects of different types of movement strategies during academic time on selective outcomes. Consistencies were identified and explained referring to theories grounded in educational psychology and exercise and cognition research.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



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