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Med Sport Sci. 2007;50:143-67.

Evolution and variability in fitness test performance of Asian children and adolescents.

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1
Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. djmac@hku.hk

Abstract

Although Asia represents well over half of the world's population, the comparative lack of resources and infrastructure in many of these countries is likely to have contributed to only sporadic data being available to examine secular changes and geographical variability in the fitness test performances of Asian children and adolescents. Given the concerns that currently exist in the development of childhood obesity including, in many Asian countries, knowledge on the secular changes in nutrition and physical fitness and activity would seem germane to developing proactive public health strategies. The aim of this study therefore was to summarize existing literature reporting explicitly on secular changes in the fitness test performance of Asian children and adolescents, and where possible, comment on the geographical variability of such performances. Using a meta-analytical strategy, this study summarizes the secular changes in power, speed and cardiovascular endurance test performance of over 23.5 million 6- to 19-year-olds from seven Asian countries, tested between 1917 and 2003. In addition, it summarizes the geographic variability in fitness test performance of Asian children and adolescents within, and outside of, Asia. There has been very little change in the power and speed test performances of Asian children and adolescents in recent decades, yet alarmingly, there have been consistent declines in cardiovascular endurance fitness performance across all studied Asian nations over the past 10-15 years. Given the association between cardiovascular endurance fitness and numerous degenerative conditions (e.g. diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome), recent declines in cardiovascular endurance fitness performance of Asian children and adolescents should be an issue of major concern for public health authorities throughout Asia.

PMID:
17387256
DOI:
10.1159/000101358
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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