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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Husu P. 1, Suni J. 1, Vasankari T. 1, Santtila M. 2, Kyröläinen H. 3, Fogelholm M. 4
1 UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland;
2 Personnel Division of Defense Command, Finnish Defense Forces, Helsinki, Finland;
3 Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;
4 Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
AIM: Physical fitness can be used as a marker of health and abilities to carry out activities of daily living. Since fitness measurements are challenging in epidemiological studies, the study aimed at analysing whether a single question on self-estimated physical fitness can be used as a surrogate measure for fitness measurements representing several components of fitness.
METHODS: Study population consisted of a representative sample of 18-30 year-old reservists (N.=764). Self-estimated fitness was assessed by asking the reservists to rate their fitness in comparison to their peers. Fitness measurements included figure-eight run, grip strength, repeated push-ups, sit-ups and squats, and an indirect maximal cycle ergometer test. Body mass index and waist circumference (WC) were also assessed.
RESULTS: Men estimating their fitness as worse than that of their peers had higher body mass index, larger WC and they also performed all fitness tests, except grip strength, more poorly. Correspondingly, men estimating their fitness as equal, performed the tests more poorly than those estimating their fitness as better. Self-estimated fitness was not sensitive enough to identify individuals with the poorest measured fitness. Large WC explained the association between self-estimated and measured fitness, especially among the men with poor perceived health.
CONCLUSION: Self-estimated fitness is associated with measured fitness, but it cannot identify individuals with the poorest fitness accurately, especially among the participants with poor health and overweight.