This study investigated the association between sociodemographic and behavioral factors and health standards based on physical fitness component scores in a sample of Brazilian schoolchildren.
A sample of 1457 girls and 1392 boys aged 6 to 18 years performed a test battery of 5 items: 1) sit-and-reach, 2) curl-up, 3) trunk-lift, 4) push-up, and 5) progressive endurance run (PACER). The cut-off scores for gender and age suggested by the FitnessGram were adopted.
The findings showed that the sociodemographic and behavioral factors significantly associated with the ability of schoolchildren of meeting the health standards varied according to the fitness test. In the 5 tests used girls presented lower chance of meeting the health standards. Age and socioeconomic class were negatively associated with the performance in all physical tests. Schoolchildren aged ≤ 9 years or from families of lowest socioeconomic class presented approximately twice the chance of meeting the health standards than those aged ≥ 15 years and from more privileged families, specifically in the push-up (OR = 2.40; 95% CI 2.01–2.82) and PACER (OR = 2.18; 95% CI 1.84–2.54) tests.
Interventions to promote health-related physical fitness should not only consider gender and age of schoolchildren, but also selected sociodemographic and behavioral factors, especially socioeconomic class and leisure activities.