Objective: To examine the relationship between habitual physical activity and components of health-related physical fitness in children.
Design: Cross-sectional survey with correlational analysis.
Setting: Seven public elementary schools in a suburban southern California city.
Participants: Five hundred twenty-eight healthy fourth-grade children (274 boys and 254 girls), 85% of whom were non-Hispanic whites. Ninety-eight percent of eligible students participated.
Measurements/main results: Results of six measures of physical activity in children (monitoring by accelerometer, parent report, and child self-reports of weekday activity, weekend activity, and summer involvement in activity classes and youth sports) were combined in a physical activity index. This index of habitual physical activity was examined in relation to measures of five components of health-related fitness: the mile run, skin-fold tests, pull-ups, sit-ups, and the sit-and-reach test. The physical activity index was significantly associated with all five fitness components. The canonical correlation was .29.
Conclusion: Active children appear to engage in a sufficient variety of activities to enhance multiple components of health-related fitness.