Physical fitness in northern European youth: Reference values from the Latvian Physical Health in Youth Study

Melita Sauka, Ilga S. Priedite, Ludmila Artjuhova, Viesturs Larins, Guntars Selga, Örjan Dahlström, Toomas Timpka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Physical fitness has the potential to be used as a key health determinant in youth. The aim of this study was to establish age- and sex-stratified reference values for health-related physical fitness in Latvian school-age children and to identify notable sex differences. Methods: Physical fitness was assessed using the EUROFIT test battery. Data were gathered from schoolchildren aged between 6 and 17 years (n = 10,464) by a medical team using standardised methods (EUROFIT battery). Fitness levels, stratified by chronological age and sex, were computed as mean ± SD. Each test was also analysed for differences between males and females in each age group. Results: Boys performed better than girls in muscular endurance and strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, and speed—agility fitness tests. Girls had better flexibility than boys (p < 0.001). There was also a more pronounced improvement in physical fitness scores with age in boys compared with girls. Conclusions: Physical fitness reference values were developed for Latvian children and adolescents. These reference values will permit comparisons between students during physical education lessons and provide a baseline against which progress in physical fitness among northern European youths can be compared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance
  • EUROFIT
  • flexibility
  • muscular endurance

Field of Science

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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