Skip to content

Paeds MH – Physical activity to improve school life satisfaction

Evidence Summary
There were four studies looking at the association between physical activity and school life satisfaction.

· There was evidence from one meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that physical activity has a positive association with school and life satisfaction (1).
· There was evidence from one randomised controlled trial that school performance improved in depressed adolescents in the aerobic exercise group compared to the control group (stretching only) (2). This study was followed up longitudinally and they found that at 6 months the adolescents in the exercise group were basically back to their normal selves in terms of school performance.

· The meta-analysis aforementioned, found that greater amounts of sedentary time were associated with more school and general life dissatisfaction.
Quality of Evidence
B Moderate
Strength of Recommendation
1C. Strong recommendations, low quality evidence as only a small number of studies
The research on this outcome is limited, but it demonstrates the potential for physical activity to have a positive outcome on school life satisfaction.

  1. Rodriguez-Ayllon M, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Estévez-López F, et al. Role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the mental health of preschoolers, children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports medicine. 2019 Apr 16:1-28.
    2.Hughes CW, Barnes S, Barnes C, et al. Depressed Adolescents Treated with Exercise (DATE): A pilot randomized controlled trial to test feasibility and establish preliminary effect sizes. Mental health and physical activity. 2013 Jun 1;6(2):119-31.