Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: A powerful marker of health

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.
International journal of obesity (2005) (Impact Factor: 5). 02/2008; 32(1):1-11. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803774
Source: PubMed


This review aims to summarize the latest developments with regard to physical fitness and several health outcomes in young people. The literature reviewed suggests that (1) cardiorespiratory fitness levels are associated with total and abdominal adiposity; (2) both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness are shown to be associated with established and emerging cardiovascular disease risk factors; (3) improvements in muscular fitness and speed/agility, rather than cardiorespiratory fitness, seem to have a positive effect on skeletal health; (4) both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness enhancements are recommended in pediatric cancer patients/survivors in order to attenuate fatigue and improve their quality of life; and (5) improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness have positive effects on depression, anxiety, mood status and self-esteem, and seem also to be associated with a higher academic performance. In conclusion, health promotion policies and physical activity programs should be designed to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, but also two other physical fitness components such us muscular fitness and speed/agility. Schools may play an important role by identifying children with low physical fitness and by promoting positive health behaviors such as encouraging children to be active, with special emphasis on the intensity of the activity.

182 Reads
  • Source
    • "The schools can be very important in identifying and developing children with low physical fitness, with the help of right physical tests. Also testing and teaching children to frequently use physical exercises can develop a positive behavior and can also increase physical fitness (Espana- Romero et al., 2010), and promote positive and healthy habits by developing the will to practice in their free time physical activities with a particular focus on the intensity of the activities (Ortega et al., 2008) The importance of physical education is in an ascendant trend in the development of society and environment (Dedaj, 2011), more countries recognized also the importance of testing and measuring in physical education and the assessment in physical fitness and included the required battery of test in their education conception. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Physical activity is starting to be a priority in child development, more and more scientist in physical education and sport field try to highlight the importance of practicing sport fervently organized or independent. In our study, we concentrated our work in analyzing two school groups consisted of 25 children, with 9 to 10 years. The first group was the experimental group with which we tried to have more physical activity, they had two hours of physical education and sport, one optional hour of sport and 2 other hours of trainings in basketball so they practice one hour of sport every day, special sports camp and basketball competitions. The second group, the control group, had two physical education and sport lessons per week and we followed the specific program. As methods of research, we used the observation method, for analyzing social integration, and also the anthropometric exams that consisted in measuring, at initial test in 2014 and at the final test in 2015, the dimensions of children body and development. We used measurements of height, weight, different length of superior and inferior segments, bust, spread of arms, biacromial diameter, bitrohanterian diameter and chest perimeter. The results, at the final testing, showed us that the experimental group had a better development than the control group, with better indices at almost every indicator, so we can conclude that in our case the everyday sport activity helps in the child body development.
    Conferinta Stiintifica de la Oradea - "Educatia fizica si sportul in beneficiul sanatatii" Editia 41, Oradea, Romania; 10/2015
  • Source
    • "Studies on physical fitness have focused on maximal oxygen consumption, as aerobic fitness is a major determinant of exercise ability. However, exercise ability also entails muscular strength, flexibility, and motor control, all of which play an important role in health (Baranowski et al. 1992; Ortega et al. 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Physical fitness can be defined as a set of components that determine exercise ability and influence performance in sports. This study investigates the genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in explosive leg strength (vertical jump), handgrip strength, balance, and flexibility (sit-and-reach) in 227 healthy monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs and 38 of their singleton siblings (mean age 17.2 ± 1.2). Heritability estimates were 49 % (95 % CI 35-60 %) for vertical jump, 59 % (95 % CI 46-69 %) for handgrip strength, 38 % (95 % CI 22-52 %) for balance, and 77 % (95 % CI 69-83 %) for flexibility. In addition, a meta-analysis was performed on all twin studies in children, adolescents and young adults reporting heritability estimates for these phenotypes. Fifteen studies, including results from our own study, were meta-analyzed by computing the weighted average heritability. This showed that genetic factors explained most of the variance in vertical jump (62 %; 95 % CI 47-77 %, N = 874), handgrip strength (63 %; 95 % CI 47-73 %, N = 4516) and flexibility (50 %; 95 % CI 38-61 %, N = 1130) in children and young adults. For balance this was 35 % (95 % CI 19-51 %, N = 978). Finally, multivariate modeling showed that the phenotypic correlations between the phenotypes in current study (0.07 < r < 0.27) were mostly driven by genetic factors. It is concluded that genetic factors contribute significantly to the variance in muscle strength, flexibility and balance; factors that may play a key role in the individual differences in adolescent exercise ability and sports performance.
    Behavior Genetics 10/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10519-015-9754-2 · 3.21 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Thus, obesity is indicated as an important public health challenge. Obesity and its associations with physical activity level (PAL) and lower physical fitness have been analyzed in pediatric populations (Giugliano and Carneiro, 2004; Joshi et al., 2012; Ortega et al., 2008). Prior studies have shown that both PAL and obesity track from childhood and adolescence to adulthood (Deshmukh-Taskar et al., 2006; Fernandes and Zanesco, 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between body mass index (BMI) status and physical performance in Brazilian children. The analyzed sample was composed of 978 children of both sexes (518 boys and 460 girls), aged 7 to 11 years. BMI and skinfolds were measured, and three motor tests were applied (flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular strength/endurance). In both sexes, overweight/obese children presented poor performance in all motor tests, except flexibility. In general, overweight/obese children have an increased odds ratio (OR) to present poor physical performance (boys: OR = 3.64 for cardiorespiratory fitness, OR = 1.94 for muscular strength/endurance, OR = 1.52 for flexibility; girls: OR = 5.03 for cardiorespiratory fitness and OR = 2.62 for muscular strength/endurance). In conclusion, for both sexes, a poor physical performance in the tests measuring cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength/ endurance was associated with the presence of overweight/obesity.
    Journal of Child Health Care 09/2015; DOI:10.1177/1367493515598645 · 0.88 Impact Factor
Show more

Preview (2 Sources)

182 Reads
Available from