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Pediatric Fitness

Secular Trends and Geographic Variability

Editor(s): Tomkinson G.R. (Adelaide, S.A.) 
Olds T.S. (Adelaide, S.A.) 
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Tomkinson GR, Olds TS (eds): Pediatric Fitness. Secular Trends and Geographic Variability. Med Sport Sci. Basel, Karger, 2007, vol 50, pp 104-128
(DOI:10.1159/000101355)
Paper

Who Are the Eurofittest?

Tomkinson G.R.a · Olds T.S.b · Borms J.c
aCentre for Applied Anthropometry and b Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia; c Faculty of Physical Education and Physical Therapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium Tomkinson GR, Olds TS (eds): Pediatric Fitness. Secular Trends and Geographic Variability. Med Sport Sci. Basel, Karger, 2007, vol 50, pp 104-128 (DOI:10.1159/000101355)

Abstract

Introduction: Despite several studies highlighting differences in aerobic test performance among age-matched children and adolescents from different countries, little is known about the geographic variability in children’s performances on tests measuring other fitness components. By cumulating studies reporting Eurofit data for children and adolescents, the aim of this study was to describe the variability in fitness test performance among children and adolescents from different parts of Europe. Methods: Sixty-seven studies reporting on the Eurofit test performances of healthy European children and adolescents were included in the analysis. Following corrections for methodological variation where appropriate, all data for each test were expressed in a common metric. Raw data were combined with pseudodata generated using Monte Carlo simulation. Performances on each fitness test were expressed as z-scores relative to all children of the same age and sex from all countries. For each Eurofit test, sample-weighted mean z-scores were calculated for each country across all age x sex groups for which data were available. Results: Data were collated on 1,185,656 Eurofit test performances by 7- to 18-year-old Europeans from 23 countries. There was considerable variability in the mean z-scores among countries, with the variability among countries differing by test. Overall, the best performing children came from northern and central European countries (0.3-0.4 standard deviations above the overall European average). Discussion/ Conclusion: There is evidence that performance was related to socio-cultural factors, such as the place of exercise and sport in the national psyche.

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