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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    • "This study investigates HGS and self-rated attractiveness in healthy young males. Fitness levels in males are the product of various anatomical and physiological factors; muscle strength and endurance, body composition, cardiorespiratory output etc. (Calvo et al. 2002;Ortega et al. 2008). HGS has thus been shown to be related to reproductive success, dominant behavior, physical performance, and sexual function (Atkinson et al. 2012;Gallup et al. 2009;Page et al. 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the link between handgrip strength and self-rated physical attractiveness, sexual history, and social characteristics in 145 male university students. Handgrip strength correlated with both height and weight, as well as self-perceived happiness, health, social confidence overall physical attractiveness, and overall number of sexual partners. It also correlated with self-assessed physical fitness levels and there was a predictable link between handgrip strength and age of first sexual intercourse. It is argued that handgrip strength is an indicator of both genetic quality and developmental health. Limitations of the study are acknowledged.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016
    • "Physical activity (PA) in developmental age has been associated with both physical and mental positive health changes, such as decreasing in cardiovascular risk factors [1], preventing metabolic diseases [2], improving quality of life [3], behavior [4], self-esteem [5], and mood [6]. Moreover, physical exercise by youths has been linked to improvement in cognition, learning and academic proficiency [7], through different possible neurobiological mechanisms: increased volume of cerebral blood flow and oxygen rate [8], modifications in hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal axis hormonal release [9], and increase in neurotrophic factors (particularly in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF), which in turn have been hypothesized to determine the increase in white matter volume and connectivity [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Schools are an ideal setting to implement physical activity programs targeted at youths' learning and intellectual abilities, as exercise has been associated with improvement in cognitive skills and academic proficiency. A systematic review of the literature was performed to examine the effects of school-based physical activity interventions on academic achievement and cognitive outcomes. A search for relevant papers was carried out on PubMed/Medline, Scopus and Google Scholar. Only quasi-experimental and experimental studies were included, if focused on school-based physical activity interventions targeting 3 to 18 year-old healthy pupils, and designed to establish a relationship between exercise performed in a school setting and cognitive/academic performance. Thirty-one papers were retrieved by the search, reporting the findings of twenty-eight school-based physical activity interventions. Most of the included studies were published in the past five years. A large majority of the studies showed positive results in terms of academic achievement and, above all, cognitive skills. In the recent years, the number of studies on school-based physical interventions aimed to establish a relationship between physical activity performed in school setting and cognitive/academic outcomes significantly increased, as well as high quality assessments and designs. This review highlights the effectiveness of school-based physical activity interventions on academic achievement and, above all, on youths' cognitive performance. Some interesting findings come from studies assessing brain functional changes, from interventions targeting culturally diverse or low-income samples, and from interventions where physical activity is in the form of active videogames.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · CNS & neurological disorders drug targets
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    • "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. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Oct 2015
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