Physical fitness in northern European youth: reference values from the Latvian Physical Health in Youth Study

Scand J Public Health. 2011 Feb;39(1):35-43. doi: 10.1177/1403494810380298. Epub 2010 Aug 10.


Aims: Physical fitness has the potential to be used as a key health determinant in youth. The aim of this study was to establish age- and sex-stratified reference values for health-related physical fitness in Latvian school-age children and to identify notable sex differences.

Methods: Physical fitness was assessed using the EUROFIT test battery. Data were gathered from schoolchildren aged between 6 and 17 years (n = 10,464) by a medical team using standardised methods (EUROFIT battery). Fitness levels, stratified by chronological age and sex, were computed as mean ± SD. Each test was also analysed for differences between males and females in each age group.

Results: Boys performed better than girls in muscular endurance and strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, and speed-agility fitness tests. Girls had better flexibility than boys (p < 0.001). There was also a more pronounced improvement in physical fitness scores with age in boys compared with girls.

Conclusions: Physical fitness reference values were developed for Latvian children and adolescents. These reference values will permit comparisons between students during physical education lessons and provide a baseline against which progress in physical fitness among northern European youths can be compared.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latvia
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors