A new comprehensive analysis of standardized aerobic tests in children have ranked 50 countries for children’s fitness level

A new comprehensive analysis of standardized aerobic (running) tests in children have ranked 50 countries for children’s fitness level
Photo Credit: iStock

Children’s fitness test: international results


It’s called the “beep” test, and it’s a global standardized evaluation of children’s general fitness levels.

A major new analysis of results of such tests has ranked childrens’s aerobic fitness in 50 countries.

Justin Lang is the lead author of the study. He is a PhD student at the University of Ottawa, and a researcher at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) at the  Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

Justin Lang, PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, and researcher Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Justin Lang, PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, and researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) © U Ottawa

The study goes under the title of “International variability in 20m shuttle run performance in children and youth: who are the fittest from a 50-country comparison? A systematic literature review with pooling of aggregate results”. It was published in the  the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (abstract here)

Led by the HALO group, collaborators  included the kinesiology unit at the Universite de Montreal,  Health Sciences at the University of Southern Australia in Adelaide,  and the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Dakota, USA.

“If all the kids in the world were to line up for a race, the average American child would finish at the foot of the field,” said Dr. Grant Tomkinson, senior author, associate professor, University of North Dakota. “Canada, on the other hand, fared moderately well placing just above middle of the pack. This study is the largest of its kind so it’s exciting to have this evidence at hand.”

Canada and the UK are in the middle of the pack, Australia further back, the US is near the back. Tanzania is the fittest, Mexico is last.
Canada and the UK are in the middle of the pack, Australia further back, the US is near the back. Tanzania is the fittest, Mexico is last. © CHEO

The test consists of having children walking quickly from a start line to another line 20 metres away. They have to get there and back before the next beep. The duration between beeps is very gradually shortened so the children have to start running faster between the two lines even as they begin to tire from the previous runs. Failing to get to the line before the beep means disqualification and a determination of ranking by the distance travelled before dropping out.

Example BEEP TEST- Youtube

The data from such tests involved over one million children in 50 countries aged 9 to 17.

Lang says, “fit” children tend to be healthier and the ranking of countries could give an indication of future population health in those countries.

  • Top 5 fittest countries:
  1. Tanzania
  2. Iceland
  3. Estonia
  4. Norway
  5. Japan
  • * Canada placed 19 out of 50
  • * The USA placed 47 out of 50
  • * The least fit is Mexico

The researchers also discovered an interesting and evident financial correlation to the results. Nations where the gap between rich and poor was narrow, tended to have fitter children, but as that financial gap widened, children’s fitness levels tended to be lower.

While Lang acknowledges there may be some variables in the results due to such things as the time factor (the tests in various countries having been done at various times over almost two decades) he says the size of the sample tends to smooth out any such variables so that a fairly accurate picture of children’s aerobic fitness can be determined

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Health, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.