A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
The effects of motor skill and physical activity interventions on preschoolers' cognitive and academic skills : A systematic review (2022)

Jylänki, P., Mbay, T., Hakkarainen, A., Sääkslahti, A., & Aunio, P. (2022). The effects of motor skill and physical activity interventions on preschoolers' cognitive and academic skills : A systematic review. Preventive Medicine, 155, Article 106948. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106948

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Jylänki, Pinja; Mbay, Theo; Hakkarainen, Airi; Sääkslahti, Arja; Aunio, Pirjo

Journal or series: Preventive Medicine

ISSN: 0091-7435

eISSN: 1096-0260

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 155

Article number: 106948

Publisher: Elsevier BV

Publication country: Netherlands

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106948

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79491


The present systematic review aimed to investigate the methodological quality and the effects of fundamental motor skills and physical activity interventions on cognitive and academic skills in typically developing 3 to 7-year-old children. The review was conducted and reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. A literature search was carried out in April 2020 using seven electronic databases. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed with the Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool. Cohen's d effect size calculations and post hoc power analyses were conducted for the included studies. A total of 35 studies, representing 2472 children met the inclusion criteria. Two of the studies demonstrated a strong methodological quality, while 24 were considered as methodologically weak. The majority (71%) of the included studies demonstrated the beneficial effects of the intervention on cognitive and academic skills. The most evidence was found for executive functions, language, and numeracy, and the effects were largest in enhancing memory. The effects were larger on cognitive and academic skills in the combined interventions compared to only fundamental motor skill and physical activity interventions, while fundamental motor skill interventions had larger effects than physical activity interventions. These findings indicate that it may be possible to support typically developing preschoolers' cognitive and academic learning with fundamental motor skill and physical activity interventions. However, most of the studies in this field have a weak methodological quality and thus, the presented evidence was considered weak in nature.

Keywords: children (age groups); preschool children (age group); physical activeness; motor skills (general); cognitive skills; study performance; intervention; systematic reviews

Free keywords: motor skills: physical activity; cognition; academic skills; early intervention; systematic review

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:16