Introduction: A high level of physical fitness is associated with cardiovascular health in children and adolescents. At present, there is no systematic implementation of a test battery to assess physical fitness at schools in Argentina. The main objective of this study was to implement the ALPHA test battery to determine the physical fitness of a sample made up of Argentine children and adolescents and to establish the proportion of subjects whose aerobic capacity is indicative of future cardiovascular risk.
Population and methods: A sample of 1867 participants (967 girls) aged 6 to 19.5 years old assessed using the ALPHA test battery. Four components of physical fitness were measured: 1) morphological component: height, body weight, and waist circumference; 2) musculoskeletal component: standing long jump test; 3) motor component: speed/agility test (4x10 m shuttle run); 4) cardiorespiratory component: course-navette 20 m, shuttle run test and estimation of maximal oxygen consumption. The 5th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentiles were estimated for the main tests.
Results: The mean body mass index was 20.8 kg/m2, and 7.8% of participants were classified as obese. In ddition, male participants had a better performance in all physical fitness tests when compared to girls (p< 0.001). An aerobic capacity indicative of cardiovascular risk was observed in 31.6% of all participants.
Conclusions: Argentine male children and adolescents included in the sample showed higher levels of physical fitness. Such differences increase with age. Approximately one every three participants had an aerobic capacity indicative of future cardiovascular risk.