The effect of exercise on executive control in overweight children
Krafft, Cynthia Elisabeth
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This study investigated the effects of exercise on executive control (EC) in children using antisaccade and Eriksen flanker tasks. Fifty 8-11 year old sedentary and overweight children were randomly assigned to either an exercise or an attention control condition. They participated in their condition for 1 hour/day, 5 days/week, for 8 months. Measures of EC were acquired at pre-test, timepoint 2, timepoint 3, and post-test. While both groups showed EC improvement over time (as observed in percent correct and reaction time measures), the exercise group improved significantly more than the control group on the percent of correct incongruent trials in the flanker task, during which a correct response had to be generated in the face of incorrect distractors. Exercise may improve EC in children, which is a finding that could have important implications for physical education in schools.