Secular trends and contemporary differences in physique and health-related fitness levels of 11-12 year-old South Korean and New Zealand children

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2005 Sep;36(5):1339-45.


Physique and physical fitness levels of 343 South Korean and 260 New Zealand 11-12-year-old schoolchildren were measured between 2000 and 2001 and added to previous data to investigate secular trends and contemporary patterns in these health-related variables. Secular trend data suggest that South Korean children are growing taller at a faster rate but are also increasing in body mass faster than New Zealand children. Contemporary South Korean children had significantly higher sit and reach and broad jump scores compared to New Zealand children, however aerobic fitness was similar between the cohorts except for 11-year-old New Zealand girls who took significantly longer to complete the 550-m run. Contemporary South Korean and New Zealand children's physiques are similar at present but if current trends continue South Korean children will become more obese than their New Zealand counterparts. An increase in South Korean children's fat mass will also have a detrimental effect on their currently superior fitness levels and overall health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*