Health-Related Physical Fitness in Hungarian Youth: Age, Sex, and Regional Profiles

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2015 Jun 26:86 Suppl 1:S45-57. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2015.1043231.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine region, age, and sex profiles of physical fitness in Hungarian youth.

Method: A sample of 2,602 Hungarian youth aged 10 to 18 years old completed a series of physical fitness field tests: the Progressive Aerobic Cardiorespiratory Endurance Run (PACER) fitness test, body mass index (BMI), percent body fat (%BF), waist circumference (WC), curl-ups (CU), pushups (PU), trunk extension (TE), back-saver sit-and-reach (SR), handgrip (HG), and standing broad jump. Physical fitness scores were classified using FITNESSGRAM® standards, and trends for region, age, and sex were examined using logistic regression. The outcome variable represented the likelihood that a child would meet the recommended levels of fitness for health.

Results: Achievement rates varied considerably by region, age, and sex. The likelihood of achieving the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) varied among Hungarian regions and on all the assessments (p < .05) with exception of the CU, PU, and HG tests (p > .05). The likelihood of achieving the HFZ was linearly related with age based on PACER, BMI, WC, %BF, CU, and SR scores (p < .05). There were statistically significant gender differences and boys were more likely to achieve the HFZ based on PACER, WC, CU, PU, TE, and SR scores (p < .05).

Conclusions: The likelihood of achieving the recommended levels of fitness for youth varies between regions in Hungary, in most cases decreases with age, and tends to be higher in boys. This study is one of the few that provides evidence of regional, age, and sex patterns of health-related fitness using a representative sample of youth.

Keywords: aerobic capacity; body composition; criterion-referenced standards; musculoskeletal fitness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Composition
  • Child
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Schools
  • Sex Factors