Physical Activity, Structured Sport Participation, and Executive Function in Preschoolers
Two studies explored the connections between physical activity, participation in structured open-skilled sports (e.g., soccer and basketball) and closed-skilled sports (e.g. running and swimming), and executive function (EF) among preschool-aged children. Study 1 included 197 preschool-aged children (mean age = 4.34 years, female = 48%, white = 83.5%). Study 2 included 1012 preschool-aged children (mean age = 51.59 months, white = 60.5%). Results from regression models indicated that parent-reported physical activity was not associated with direct assessments or parent reports of child EF (Studies 1 and 2). General sport participation was associated with one direct assessment (DCCS; Study 1), but was not associated with parent reports of child EF when controlling for physical activity (Studies 1 and 2); however, depending on the conceptualization of sport, some associations were significant. Future research is necessary to determine whether these associations exist when the constructs are conceptualized differently and when using different assessments.