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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1990-4.

Physical fitness profiles in young Finnish men during the years 1975-2004.

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Training Division of the Defence Staff, Finnish Defense Forces, Helsinki, Finland.



This population-based study describes fitness profiles in aerobic capacity (N = 387088) during the years 1975-2004, muscle performance (N = 280285) from 1982 to 2003, and body anthropometry (N = 324911) from 1993 to 2004 among the Finnish conscripts at the age of 20 yr.


Endurance performance was tested by the 12-min running test. Muscle fitness tests consisting of sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, a back-muscle test, and standing long jump were scored to muscle fitness index (MFI).


The mean body mass of the conscripts increased from 70.8 to 75.2 kg (P < 0.01) during the years 1993-2004. The mean distance of the conscripts" 12-min running test increased first by 4% from 1975 to 1979, but after it that decreased by 12% (from 2760 m to 2434 m, P < 0.001) compared with the year 2004. MFI increased during the first decade of the follow-up, but thereafter, the number of conscripts who achieved excellent and good MFI decreased from 66.8 to 41.2% (P < 0.001) during the years 1992-2004. The physical ability of the conscripts to meet military service declined during the last 15 yr.


Both the increase in body mass and the decrease in physical fitness may lead to serious health problems in the future.

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