Physical activity, mental health and academic achievement among adolescents

Recently, there has been a formidable increase in research on the relationship between physical activity (PA) and mental health as well as between PA and academic achievement. Although divergent findings across studies, a growing body of evidence shows that PA may positively correlate with several mental health outcomes as well as with academic achievement. Longitudinal studies exploring these associations using objective measured PA are lacking




Formal title

Physical activity, mental health and academic achievement – exploring relationships and development among adolescents throughout their time at lower secondary school


The project aims to understand how physical activity might be related to mental health and academic achievement, and how this develops in course of the three years at lower secondary school


The project was organised as a prospective cohort study, which tracked pupils from 11 schools annually, from 8th grade through to 10th grade.
The measurements conducted were: seven days objectively measured activity level using an accelerometer, a questionnaire, anthropometrical measurements, school grades.


Results from the project shows physical activity to be weakly correlated with mental wellbeing. No associations between physical activity and mental health problems, or between physical activity and academic achievement were found, neither in cross-sectional, nor longitudinal data.

Link to article 1:   Physical activity, mental health and academic achievement: A cross-sectional study of Norwegian adolescent

Link to article 2:   Physical activity and academic achievement among Norwegian adolescents: Findings from a longitudinal study. 

Link to article 3: The longitudinal association between objectively measured physical activity and mental health among Norwegian adolescents