For The Year that Was—2016, I have selected three papers in the area of growth, maturation, and exercise during youth. The year of 2016 was a successful year and it was not an easy task to highlight the most significant publications in this specific area of pediatric exercise science. The first paper has been chosen because it provides, for the first time, the growth and maturational status of elite junior tennis players belonging to the top eight players in the National rankings in various ages and compares against population norms. It appeared that individual differences in growth and maturation contribute towards the selection of elite junior tennis players in both sexes, with a bias towards these athletes who are comparatively tall and heavy for their age already in younger ages. The second paper is a methodological paper and was selected because it provides a unique perspective on the use of different tracking coefficients to investigate short-term tracking of cardiorespiratory and performance-related physical fitness among adolescents during growth and maturation. Specifically, three distinct statistical approaches were applied in this paper: auto-correlations, mulitilevel modeling corrected tracking values for time-varying covariates and Cohen`s Kappa in order to identify group and individual tracking as well as individuals whose trajectories are unstable across time. This methodological paper demonstrated the importance of the selection of the statistical approach to monitor and describe short-term tracking of cardiorespiratory and performance-related physical fitness variables in adolescents during growth and maturation. The third selected paper provided some evidence that the consequence of physical activity during childhood can be far reaching as physical activity might not only promote health benefits but also have positive effects on adulthood earnings.
The author is with the Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.