Normative data of BMI and physical fitness in a Norwegian sample of early adolescents

Scand J Public Health. 2014 Feb;42(1):67-73. doi: 10.1177/1403494813504502. Epub 2013 Sep 16.


Aim: The purpose of the present study was to 1) provide normative data quantifying the physical fitness level and body mass index of 13-15-year-old Norwegian adolescents using a multi-component fitness assessment, and 2) compare the physical fitness of Norwegian teenagers with available European and International fitness data.

Methods: 1059 adolescents (529 males, 530 females) from 12 public schools in Kristians and were invited to testing at age 13, 14, and 15 years (Grades 8-10). Test participation was 75%-80%. The participants performed objectively anthropometrical measures (height and weight) and six field-based physical fitness tests.

Results and conclusions: As expected, sex differences in physical fitness expanded from age 13 to 15. Strength and power increased more in males than females. Aerobic capacity increased slightly in males while remaining stable or tending to decline in females. Balance and gross motor coordination improved identically in males and females from age 13 to 15. Compared to European and International reference data, the sample performed superior in endurance and balance, slightly above median in lower-body strength, but inferior in flexibility.

Keywords: Balance; cardiovascular endurance; coordination; muscular strength; obesity; overweight.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors