Friday, June 04, 2010

Sweating your way through college...

An interesting article reported in the nytimes today shows college students who take regular and vigorous physical exercise score higher grades. A GPA difference of 0.4 (~10%) was estimated after controlling for gender, race, major, study time, and college sports in 266 surveyed college students.

What exercise variables do we have in our college data? be interesting to estimate the effect in Ireland with this larger sample.

5 comments:

Kevin Denny said...

In survey data, the problem of course is getting exogenous variation in exercise. So lazy people less likely to exercise and also less likely to study.
But it is an important issue. I propose an RCT - the Gold Standard in evaluation remember- where I randomly tell Geary PhD students to take a hike. Then, over a cool beer, Liam and I will calmly assess their academic performance.

Peter Carney said...

Yes, probably lots of important variables in this study missing but it's still an interesting one; especially since they control for study time. My main problem with this is their small sample size.

What i'm thinking is that we have a much larger sample in our college data and some good personality measures, and other proxies, that might allow for more control..

An RCT would be ideal. Dave might have some ideas on this re: cycling

David Karp said...

I wonder how well they control for studying time; if studying time is self-reported, it may not be very accurate.

I'd be surprised if exercise does influence academics. It's probably that people who exercise eat healthier as well, and are less likely to spend their spare time drinking and doing drugs, which probably negatively affect grades.

Kevin Denny said...

Fair point David, though I think there is good biological evidence for some benefits to the brain from exercise.

Martin Ryan said...

Peter, "time spent playing sports" is in the data...