This paper describes the effects of exercise training on the somatic, skeletal, and sexual maturation of children. Young athletes of both sexes grow at the same rate and to the same extent as young nonathletes. However, there is evidence that the pubertal development of young female athletes may be delayed. Menarche is more consistently late than either thelarche or pubarche. Genetic and environmental factors are explored in an attempt to determine causative mechanisms. Longitudinal training data are needed for both boys and girls on a variety of physical and hormonal variables. Until such data are available, it is recommended that all children engage in regular physical activity but that maturational progress be monitored in those involved in strenuous competitive training.
Sharon Ann Plowman
Sharon Ann Plowman
The last decade has seen a shift in emphasis from the goal of attaining physical fitness (a product) to the behavior of physical activity (a process) to achieve health benefits. A central question is whether the achievement of physical fitness (PF) is necessary or if participation in physical activity (PA) is sufficient. Three basic tenets of this shift are examined by using representative studies. They are: (1) both PA and PF will lead to health benefits; PF is simply a surrogate measure for PA, (2) the impact of genetics will be avoided if PA, not PF, is emphasized and that is desirable, and (3) it is easier to motivate “the masses” to accumulate lifestyle moderate activity than to undergo a vigorous exercise prescription. Results indicate that PA and PF might be independent risk factors, that both have a degree of genetic determination, and that participation rates for PA have changed little and remain insufficient. Both PA and PF need to be evaluated, promoted, and attained.
Sharon Ann Plowman
This paper analyzes the determination of the criterion referenced standards for the neuromuscular physical fitness items (sit-ups, sit-and-reach, and pullups) typically included in health related physical fitness test batteries for children and adolescents. Criterion referenced standards should be linked to some specific status on a health criterion that represents an absolute desirable level of that characteristic. Three techniques used to determine and/or validate criterion referenced standards are discussed: the use of empirical data with an established criterion test, the use of empirical data with instructed versus uninstructed groups, and the use of normative data and expert judgment. It is concluded that the existing criterion referenced standards have been derived exclusively from normative data and expert opinion. It remains unknown as to the meaning of these standards in relation to desirable and absolute levels of health.
Norman S. Hannibal III, Sharon Ann Plowman, Marilyn A. Looney and Jason Brandenburg
Strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility are important components of healthy back function. This study determined the reliability and evaluated the validity of selected low back field tests (FITNESSGRAM ® Trunk Extension [FG-TE] and Box 90° Dynamic Trunk Extension [B-90° DTE]) when compared to laboratory tests (Parallel Roman Chair Dynamic Trunk Extension [PRC-DTE], Parallel Roman Chair Static Trunk Extension [PRC-STE], and Dynamometer Static Back Lift [DSBL]).
Forty males age 15.1 ± 1.2 yr and 32 females age 15.5 ± 1.2 yr participated.
Intraclass test-retest reliability coefficients (one-way ANOVA model for a single measure) ranged from .940 to .996. Validity coefficients determined by Pearson product moment correlation coefficients for males and females, respectively, were as follows: B-90° DTE vs. PRC-DTE = .82, .62 (p < .05); B-90° DTE vs. PRC-STE = .55, .38 (p < .05); B-90° DTE vs. DSBL = −.29, −.23; FG-TE vs. PRC-DTE = .23, −.11; FG-TE vs. PRC-STE = −.15, .33; and FG-TE vs. DSBL = −.04, −.36.
B-90° DTE was shown to be a valid field test when compared to PRC-DTE, but only for the males. Further research on the PRC-DTE and PRC-STE items for adolescents is recommended.