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Physical Fitness of Canadian Physical Education Students with a Note on International Differences
  1. Roy J. Shephard,
  2. Peter Pimm


    Measurements of physical fitness have been carried out on 161 University of Toronto physical and health education students, 78 men and 83 women; 144 of the students were non-smokers, and the remainder had a relatively light cigarette consumption, 10 men averaging 12.3 cigarettes/day and 7 women 8.7 cigarettes/day.

    The more fit members of the group tended to volunteer for maximum testing, while less fit subjects elected sub-maximum test procedures. Allowing for this factor, the average V̇O2 (max) was 49.0 ml./kg. min in the male non-smokers, 37.7 ml./kg. min in the female non-smokers, 51.8 ml./kg. min for male smokers and 42.9 ml./kg. min for female smokers. Measurements of skinfold thicknesses (average readings for four groups 12.2, 13.3, 19.5 and 15.3 mm) with estimates of body fat (18.0, 28.5, 21.9 and 27.7%), muscle strength and lean mass support the view that although most students perceive themselves as fit, neither the men nor the women have an exceptional capacity for endurance work.

    Despite a recent and fairly light cigarette habit, lung volumes are poorer in the smokers than in the non-smokers.

    Even at the first laboratory visit, bicycle ergometer predictions of V̇O2 (max) over-estimate direct treadmill readings for this group, the discrepancy being 5-6% for the men and 8-9% for the women.

    Results are compared with published information on physical education students from other nations. There seem national differences between endurance-oriented Scandinavian students and heavy, contact-sport oriented North Americans.

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