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.

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    • "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). "
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    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
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    • "For instance, in Spain about one in five adolescents has a physical fitness level indicative of future cardiovascular risk (Ortega et al., 2005). Therefore, health promotion policies should be designed to promote physical fitness levels from childhood, especially cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, which are the most important health-related physical fitness components (Ortega et al., 2008; Ruiz et al., 2009). Regarding this public health issue, schools may play an important role in promoting physical fitness levels. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a physical education-based development and maintenance programme on objective and perceived health-related physical fitness in high school students. A sample of 111 students aged 12–14 years old from six classes were cluster randomly assigned to an experimental group (n ¼ 54) or a control group (n ¼ 57). During the physical education classes, the experimental group students performed a development programme twice a week for nine weeks. Then, after a four-week period of detraining, the experimental group students completed a maintenance programme twice a week for eight weeks. Students’ objective cardiorespiratory fitness (20-meter shuttle run test), objective muscular fitness (flexion-extension legs test), and perceived physical fitness (International Fitness Scale and the Contour Drawing Rating Scale) were measured at the beginning and at the end of the development programme, as well as at the end of the maintenance programme. The results of the two-way analyses of variance showed that the physical education-based development programme significantly increased the students’ objective physical fitness levels, and that these gains obtained remained after the maintenance programme (p < 0.01). However, the intervention programme did not show an influence on the students’ perceived physical fitness (p > 0.05). The physical education-based intervention programme was effective in increasing and maintaining objective physical fitness among high school students. This knowledge could help teachers to design programmes that permit a feasible and effective development and maintenance of health-related physical fitness in a physical education setting.
    European Physical Education Review 08/2015; DOI:10.1177/1356336X15599010 · 0.50 Impact Factor
    • "In the last decade, assessment of muscular strength has become popular, and it has been included in several fitness-test batteries in children and adolescents (Artero et al., 2011a; Castro-Pinero et al., 2010; Ortega et al., 2012; Vicente-Rodriguez et al., 2008). Less is known however about whether muscular strength is a marker of health in younger populations and whether its assessment is feasible in children as young as 3-5 years old (hereafter called preschool children) (Ortega et al., 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated whether there is an optimal grip span for determining the maximum handgrip strength in preschool children and if it is influenced by gender, age, or hand size. A total of 292 preschool children (3-5 years; 59.2% boys) carried out the handgrip strength test with different grip spans (4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0 cm). The hand size was also measured. We also determined the reliability of the optimal grip span in another group of children (n = 56, 57% boys) who did the test twice, with a 3-hour difference between tests. The results showed that 4.0 cm is the optimal grip span to determine the maximum handgrip strength in preschool children. This result applied to both genders, all age groups, and hand sizes. Paired t-tests showed no significant differences between test and retest. These findings may guide clinicians and researchers in selecting the optimal grip span when measuring handgrip strength in preschool children.Level IV
    Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume) 07/2015; DOI:10.1177/1753193415592328 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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