Tracking of health-related physical fitness for middle school boys and girls

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2012 Nov;24(4):549-62. doi: 10.1123/pes.24.4.549.


This study tracked health-related physical fitness in 11 year-old youths over their three-year middle school period. The Fitnessgram test battery was administered four times to 116 boys and 129 girls in the US during the period. Results indicated that BMI and estimated %BF tracked best, followed by PACER, sit and reach, push-up, and curl-up. Fitness levels in the estimated %BF and curl-up in the least fit quartiles (at baseline) tracked better than those in the fittest quartiles, and initially at-risk youths had higher probabilities of falling into at-risk categories three years later than those initially in healthy groups. In addition, boys became healthier in the estimated %BF and girls tracked poorer than boys in the PACER. Further, the numbers of girls in the at-risk categories increased considerably in four fitness measures (estimated %BF, BMI, PACER, and push-up) during the middle school period, whereas boys' corresponding numbers either dropped or did not change in all the fitness measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors