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BIG DATA TO ANSWER BIG QUESTIONS

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ONTARIO-WIDE ASSESSMENT OF LINK BETWEEN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS

There is growing evidence that physical fitness among children and youth is strongly associated with their academic success. Troublingly, physical inactivity and childhood obesity is also on the rise.  We are using large-scale data from across Ontario to examine the relationship between physical activity and academic success, in elementary and secondary school students (N = 31,124).  Data come from the School Mental Health Surveys (SMHS), a cross-sectional survey of 248 schools (180 schools of grades 6-8 students and 68 schools of grades 9-12 students) during the 2014-2015 academic year.  

This work is critical for informing educational and health care policy. Targeted focus on scholastic activities has led to a drastic reduction in time available for physical activity - perhaps counterproductively at the expense of student cognitive and physical health.

CANADA-WIDE ASSESSMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PREDICTORS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDREN AND YOUTH 

Despite the growing evidence that physical activity is linked to cognitive and physical health, many children remain inactive. We are using the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), which cross-sectionally surveys children and youth aged 3-18 from 2007-2017 (and their parents) to determine the key predictors of their physical activity, including mental health/mood, gender, ethnicity, parental physical activity, and parental SES.

Insight into the key factors that determine physical activity will elucidate ways to target authentic and robust behaviour change such as engaging in more physical activity, which has been shown to improve mental and physical health.

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PREVIOUS PUBLICATIONS WITH BIG DATA

Fenesi, B., & Sana, F. (2015). What is Your Degree Worth? The Relationship Between Post–Secondary Programs and Employment Outcomes. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 45(4), 383-399.

Fenesi, B., Fang, H., Kovacevic, A., Oremus, M., Raina, P., Heisz, J. J. (2017). Physical exercise moderates the relationship of apolipoprotein E(APOE) genotype and dementia risk: A population-based study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 56(1), 297-303.

Sana, F., & Fenesi, B. (2013). Grade 12 versus grade 13: Benefits of an extra year of high school. Journal of Educational Research, 106(5), 384-392.

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