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Acta Paediatr. 2011 Apr;100(4):565-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.02135.x.

Cross-sectional trends in cardiovascular fitness in Swedish 16-year-olds between 1987 and 2007.

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Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology, Swedish School of Sport Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.



We sought to investigate the temporal trends in estimated maximal aerobic capacity in adolescents (mean age 16.1).


Analyses were based on data from three population-based samples, collected in 1987 (n=221), 2001 (n=537) and 2007 (n=265). Subjects underwent sub-maximal ergometer testing. Absolute and relative aerobic capacities were estimated using the Åstrand-Ryhming nomogram.


Compared to 1987, values for estimated relative and absolute maximal aerobic capacities were lower in 2001 and 2007, and values in 2007 were lower compared to 2001, in both boys and girls, except for absolute capacity between 1987 and 2001 in girls. The differences over time did not differ between genders. Absolute values changed from 3.0 and 2.5 L/min in 1987 to 2.5 and 2.2 L/min in 2007, for boys and girls, respectively. Relative values changed from 46.5 and 45.9 mL/min/kg in 1987 to 35.0 and 36.6 mL/min/kg, in 2007, for boys and girls, respectively.


Based on earlier reports on the relationship between aerobic capacity and metabolic risk, the results from the present study provide argument that future public health will be affected negatively.

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