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International normative 20 m shuttle run values from 1 142 026 children and youth representing 50 countries
  1. Grant R Tomkinson1,2,
  2. Justin J Lang3,
  3. Mark S Tremblay3,
  4. Michael Dale4,
  5. Allana G LeBlanc5,
  6. Kevin Belanger3,
  7. Francisco B Ortega6,7,
  8. Luc Léger8
  1. 1Department of Kinesiology and Public Health Education, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
  2. 2Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), School of Health Sciences & Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. 3Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO) Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  5. 5ParticiPACTION, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  7. 7Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden
  8. 8Département de kinésiologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Grant R Tomkinson, Department of Kinesiology and Public Health Education, University of North Dakota, 2751 2nd Avenue North, Stop 8235, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA; grant.tomkinson{at}


Objective To develop sex-specific and age-specific international norms for the 20 m shuttle run test (20mSRT) in children and youth (aged 9–17 years), and to estimate the prevalence meeting the FITNESSGRAM criterion-referenced standards for healthy cardiorespiratory endurance (CRE).

Methods A systematic review was undertaken to identify papers explicitly reporting descriptive 20mSRT (with 1 min stages) data on children and youth since 1981. Data were included on apparently healthy (free from known disease/injury) 9–17 years old. Following standardisation to a common metric and for protocol differences, pseudo data were generated using Monte Carlo simulation, with population-weighted sex-specific and age-specific normative centiles generated using the Lambda Mu and Sigma (LMS) method. Sex-related and age-related differences were expressed as per cent and standardised differences in means. The prevalence with healthy CRE was estimated using the sex-specific and age-specific FITNESSGRAM criterion-referenced standards for Embedded Image.

Results Norms were displayed as tabulated centiles and as smoothed centile curves for the 20mSRT using 4 common metrics (speed at the last completed stage, completed stages/minutes, laps and relative Embedded Image). The final data set included 1 142 026 children and youth from 50 countries, extracted from 177 studies. Boys consistently outperformed girls at each age group (mean difference±95% CI: 0.86±0.28 km/h or 0.79±0.20 standardised units), with the magnitude of age-related increase larger for boys than for girls. A higher proportion of boys (mean±95% CI: 67±14%) had healthy CRE than girls (mean±95% CI: 54±17%), with the prevalence of healthy CRE decreasing systematically with age.

Conclusions This study provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date set of international sex-specific and age-specific 20mSRT norms for children and youth, which have utility for health and fitness screening, profiling, monitoring and surveillance.

  • Endurance
  • Children
  • Adolescent

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