Physical fitness percentiles for Portuguese children and adolescents aged 10-18 years

J Sports Sci. 2014;32(16):1510-8. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2014.906046. Epub 2014 May 13.


This study aimed to produce age- and sex-specific physical fitness reference data for Portuguese youth; to report the prevalence of youth in the healthy zone of physical fitness according to the FITNESSGRAM(®) criteria; to verify the agreement between the Portuguese physical fitness percentiles and the FITNESSGRAM(®) healthy zones. In 2008, 22,048 Portuguese children and adolescents (10-18 years) were evaluated. Physical fitness (curl-ups, push-ups, 20-m shuttle run and modified-back-saver-sit-and-reach tests) was evaluated using the FITNESSGRAM(®) Test Battery 8.0. Smoothed percentile curves were estimated using Cole's LMS method. Boys consistently outperformed girls in every physical fitness test, except for the modified-back-saver-sit-and-reach tests. In both sexes and for all physical fitness tests, higher percentile values were observed at older ages. The 50th percentile of all physical fitness tests had the highest accuracy to discriminate between under healthy zone and healthy zone of the FITNESSGRAM(®). Portuguese schools and physical education teachers may considerer the 50th percentile for age and sex or the FITNESSGRAM(®) criteria for classifying participants in the healthy zone as acceptable cut-offs, above which youth should be considered fit. These reference values can be used as normative data and for baseline values for subsequent surveillance of the physical fitness of Portuguese youth.

Keywords: adolescents; children; percentiles; physical fitness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Portugal
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors