The Relative Age Effect, Height and Weight Characteristics among Lower and Upper Secondary School Athletes in Norway and Sweden

Sports (Basel). 2017 Dec 8;5(4):92. doi: 10.3390/sports5040092.


The relative age effect (RAE) has been found among youth elite athletes within a range of sports. However, the RAE has been studied to a lesser degree among youth non-elite athletes, and even less among school pupils attending sport specialisation programmes (SSPs). The aim of the present study was to investigate RAE, height, and weight, and compare Swedish lower secondary school and Norwegian upper secondary school pupils. Study 1 includes 156 lower secondary school athletes (95 boys and 61 girls) following an SSP in Sweden, while study 2 includes 111 upper secondary school athletes (81 boys and 30 girls) from two Norwegian schools. The RAE was found in both male groups, but only in Swedish girls. Furthermore, the relationship between birth month, height, and weight was found to be non-significant. These results indicate a vital RAE effect among youth non-elite athletes attending SSPs in both lower and upper secondary schools.

Keywords: height; lower secondary school; the relative age effect; upper secondary school; weight.