The feasibility, scalability and outcomes of cardiorespiratory fitness testing in primary school children

Beedie, C., Mann, S., Domone, S. and Wade, M. (2016) The feasibility, scalability and outcomes of cardiorespiratory fitness testing in primary school children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 48 (S1). p. 298. ISSN 0195-9131.

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PURPOSE: The physical activity (PA) levels and fitness of schoolchildren is increasingly a public health issue. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a validated marker of PA levels, however there is little systematic measurement of this variable in school children. Systematic measurement would allow all stakeholders, from parents and schools to activity providers and public health agencies, to monitor changes in CRF over time and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the CRF of children at a number of UK primary schools over one academic year. Measures were CRF and body mass index (BMI). Secondary aims were to test the feasibility of CRF testing in primary schools more generally (previous studies have been administered by research teams, and whilst providing useful data relating to validity and reliability, provide little insight into the practicality and scalability of testing).METHODS: Participants from 14 schools (n=463) aged between 8-9 (M±SD BMI 17.61±61) completed a 20 meter shuttle run test (20-mSRT) four times during a calendar year (Oct, Feb, June, Sep). This included data collection either side of the school summer break from July-Sep. CRF (VO2max ml kg-1min-1) was calculated using standardised prediction equations for children. To demonstrate both practicality and scalability of the protocol, testing sessions and data collection were conducted by appropriately trained and qualified personnel already operating in the schools and not by the research team, although the latter vetted this process.RESULTS: Paired sample t-tests indicated a significant increase in CRF during the 1st quarter of the academic year (VO2max 49.58±4.06-51.58±5.09 p<0.01). CRF continued to increase during the school year before decreasing significantly over the summer break (51.71±5.00-49.99±4.45 p<0.01). BMI remained level during the academic year but increased significantly during the summer break (17.91±3.13-18.35±3.31 p>0.01).CONCLUSIONS: Significant negative changes in CRF and BMI suggest children are less active in the summer break, a finding that should be used to inform future activity provision. Data also indicate that the delivery of CRF testing in primary schools is feasible and scalable.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Chris Beedie
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 14:17
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 14:21

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00