Youth cardiorespiratory fitness continues to fall

June 5, 2014

The number of adolescents aged from 12 to 15 years with adequate cardiorespiratory fitness continues to decline, according to the latest research from National Center for Health Statistics.

 

The number of adolescents aged from 12 to 15 years with adequate cardiorespiratory fitness continues to decline, according to the latest research from National Center for Health Statistics.

Overall, just 42.2% of teenagers aged 12 to 15 years were found to have adequate levels of fitness in 2012. This is down from the 1999-2000 results, when 52.4% were found to have adequate cardiorespiratory fitness levels.

Boys appear to have higher levels of fitness, with 50.2% of boys aged 12 to 15 years meeting the standard, while only 33.8% of girls in the same age group displayed adequate fitness. The pattern was similar even when further divided into 2 age groups: 12 to 13 years and 14 to 15 years.

In earlier reports, boys also displayed higher levels of fitness, but the level has decreased significantly over the past 12 years, from 64.8% in 1999-2000 to 50.2% in 2012.

No differences were found among the adequate cardiorespiratory fitness levels in non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic adolescents. Additionally, no significant difference was found in the adequate fitness levels among adolescents in families with incomes below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines (43.5%); 130% to 349% of the federal poverty guidelines (39.6%); or 350% or more of the poverty guidelines (43.6%).

As one would anticipate, the number of adolescents with cardiorespiratory fitness declined as their weight status increased. More than half of normal-weight adolescents were able to display adequate fitness, while only 1 of every 5 obese teenagers was able to do so. Roughly 30% of overweight adolescents were able to meet adequate standards.

Data are from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999-2004, and the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey, 2012.


 

 

To get weekly clinical advice for today's pediatrician, subscribe to the Contemporary Pediatrics eConsult.