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Normative health-related fitness values for children: analysis of 85347 test results on 9–17-year-old Australians since 1985


Objectives To provide sex- and age-specific normative values for health-related fitness of 9–17-year-old Australians.

Methods A systematic literature search was undertaken to identify peer-reviewed studies reporting health-related fitness data on Australian children since 1985—the year of the last national fitness survey. Only data on reasonably representative s amples of apparently healthy (free from known disease or injury) 9–17-year-old Australians, who were tested using field tests of health-related fitness, were included. Both raw and pseudo data (generated using Monte Carlo simulation) were combined with sex- and age-specific normative centile values generated using the Lambda Mu and Sigma (LMS) method. Sex- and age-related differences were expressed as standardised effect sizes.

Results Normative values were displayed as tabulated percentiles and as smoothed centile curves for nine health-related fitness tests based on a dataset comprising 85347 test performances. Boys typically scored higher than girls on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed and power tests, but lower on the flexibility test. The magnitude of the age-related changes was generally larger for boys than for girls, especially during the teenage years.

Conclusion This study provides the most up-to-date sex- and age-specific normative centile values for the health-related fitness of Australian children that can be used as benchmark values for health and fitness screening and surveillance systems.

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