Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Jerry Purvis

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


In the United States, a significant portion of the population is overweight or obese. In addition to this, there are very low levels of physical fitness amongst the general population. However, in numerous studies healthy body weight and moderate to high levels of physical fitness have been linked with many benefits, including improved academic performance. This study focused on the relationship between physical fitness, body mass index, and academic achievement in college students at the University of Southern Mississippi. The aim of this study was to conduct a quantitative correlational analysis of these three factors in order to determine if either physical fitness or body mass index could potentially correlate with academic performance at the college level. A sample population was obtained students enrolled in HPR 303 (Evaluation in Human Performance and Recreation) at the University of Southern Mississippi. The subjects completed the FITNESSGRAM to measure their physical fitness levels. Body mass index was derived from the subjects’ self-reported height and weight. Academic achievement was determined by the self-reported grade point average. The correlation between physical fitness levels, body mass index, and academic achievement were analyzed through a Pearsons r correlation. This study revealed non-significant trends of a correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement, especially amongst Caucasian subjects. As such, based on the results of this study, it is possible that one may generally predict whether an individual will do well academically based on their physical fitness and body mass, and vice versa.

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Public Health Commons