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Original articles  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2003 March;43(1):90-8

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Secular trends in physical performance of Australian children. Evidence from the Talent Search program

Tomkinson G. R. 1, Olds T. S. 1, Gulbin J. 2

1 Computer Simulation Laboratory, School of Physical Education Exercise and Sport Studies University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia 2 South Australian Sports Institute now at the Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen, Australia


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Aim. ­This ­study exam­ined ­trends in ­aerobic fit­ness in 12-15-­year-old ­South Aus­tra­lian school­chil­dren in the ­years 1995-2000, ­based on ­data ­from the Aus­tra­lian ­Sports ­Commission’s ­Talent ­Search pro­gram.
­Methods. A ­total of 18,631 chil­dren ­were ­tested. The ­aerobic per­for­mance ­test ­used was the 20 m ­shuttle run ­test (20­mSRT). The 20­mSRT ­scores ­were ­expressed as com­pleted ­laps, and con­verted to esti­mated V.O2max ­values.
­Results. ­There ­were sig­nif­i­cant ­declines (p=0.04-0.0001) ­across all age-­gender ­slices, equiv­a­lent to 0.18 to 0.36 ml O2·kg-1·min-1· yr-1, or ­about 0.4-0.8% of ­mean ­values per ­year. The ­rate of ­decline is con­sis­tent ­with sev­eral ­other Aus­tra­lian and over­seas ­studies in the ­years 1980-2000, ­which ­have ­used a ­variety of ­aerobic ­tests ­across a ­wide ­range of age ­groups. In rela­tion to chil­dren of sim­ilar age in 7 ­other coun­tries, Aus­tra­lian chil­dren ­show ­poor to ­average ­aerobic fit­ness ­levels.
Con­clu­sion. It is pos­sible ­that the ­decay in Aus­tra­lian ­children’s ­aerobic fit­ness is in ­part due to ­reduced phys­ical ­activity.

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