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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8568459, 7 pages
Research Article

Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Development: Protocol for a 15-Year Longitudinal Follow-Up Study

1School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China
2Department of Physical Education, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330031, China
3Division of Physical Education, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330004, China
4Health Promotion Center, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310014, China
5Department of Kinesiology, College of Sport Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taishan Medical University, Tai’an, Shandong 271016, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Ru Wang; moc.361@2160urgnaw and Peijie Chen; nc.ude.sus@eijiepnehc

Received 14 July 2017; Accepted 16 August 2017; Published 28 September 2017

Academic Editor: Zan Gao

Copyright © 2017 Guanggao Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between physical activity as assessed by accelerometers and cognitive development across the human age ranges (from children and adolescents to adults). Additionally, this study seeks to explore whether physical activity contributes to cognitive development via modification of plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In the study, 500 preschool children (3.5–5.5 years old) are taking part in 6 triennial assessment waves over the span of 15 years. At each wave, participant measures included (a) 7-day physical activity monitoring using ActiGraph’s GT3X accelerometers, (b) the evaluation of cognitive development, (c) anthropometric and physical fitness assessments, (d) plasma IGF-1 and BDNF concentrations, and (e) retrospective questionnaires. Linear regression models are used to examine the effect of physical activity on cognitive development; plasma IGF-1 and BDNF concentrations are considered as mediators into data analyses. The results of the study may help to inform future health interventions that utilize physical activity as a means to improve cognitive development in children, adolescents, and adults. Additionally, the study may assist in determining whether the putative effects occur via modification of plasma IGF-1 or BDNF concentrations.