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Paul Jansma, Jim Decker, Walter Ersing, Jeffrey McCubbin and Sue Combs

This article addresses the issue of fitness assessment for use with individuals who are severely mentally retarded. An overview of The Ohio State University’s Project Transition is accompanied by a detailed review of its assessment system with a particular emphasis upon scoring. Some notable features of the system are contrasted with those of the three related published assessment systems in physical education. The most significant characteristic of the Project Transition assessment system is its score sheet, which yields specific information related to percentage of task completion, level of prompting required for subtasks, whole skill performance, task-analyzed step descriptions, and reinforcement strategy. Assessment systems for individuals who are severely handicapped rarely provide all of these measures. An assessment system of this type is claimed to be useful for both the practitioner and the researcher.

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Dahn Shaulis, Lawrence A. Golding and Richard D. Tandy

This study assessed the relative and absolute reliability of the five tests in the AAHPERD functional fitness assessment for men and women over 60 years of age. Twenty-eight apparently healthy subjects, ages 60 to 81, were tested three times during a 2-week period on each item in the test battery: sit and reach flexibility, body agility, coordination, strength/endurance, and half-mile walk. Relative reliability was assessed for both sexes via intraclass correlation coefficient. Absolute reliability was evaluated using repeated measures ANOVA. Intraclass correlations among sessions for men and women, respectively, were 0.97 and 0.98 for flexibility, 0.98 and 0.96 for body agility, 0.89 and 0.71 for coordination, 0.94 and 0.81 for strength/endurance, and 0.99 and 0.96 for the walk. Repeated measures ANOVAs with Tukey’s post hoc tests revealed improved performance from repeated practice sessions in all tests, although the improvement was not consistent between tests. Although the tests have high intraclass correlations, researchers using the test battery should include a random control group to assess the effects of training.

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Gina Bravo, Pierre Gauthier, Pierre-Michel Roy, Daniel Tessier, Philippe Gaulin, Marie-France Dubois and Lucie Péloquin

A battery of field tests was recently developed to assess five fitness parameters in elderly persons. The present study examined the test-retest reliability of each item in the battery and tested the validity of the cardiorespiratory endurance item. Reliability and validity data were obtained from two convenience samples. The 29 subjects in the reliability study were community-living women enrolled in seniors’ exercise classes. The validity of the cardiorespiratory endurance item was tested by comparing it with maximal work capacity on a treadmill test. The 52 women in that part of the study were all participants in a study to assess the effect of weight-bearing exercises on women with low bone mass. Both samples were combined for a principal component analysis. Low reproducibility was observed for coordination (0.54) and strength/endurance (0.56). After slightly modifying the test protocol for these two items, reproducibility reached 84 and 94%, respectively. The correlation between the cardiorespiratory endurance score and maximal work capacity was −0.65, while that between the composite score and maximal work capacity was −0.64. Given these minor modifications, then, the Functional Fitness Assessment battery is a reliable and valid tool for assessing functional fitness in elderly women.

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Danielle D. Wadsworth, Mary E. Rudisill, Jared A. Russell, James R. McDonald and David D. Pascoe

The School of Kinesiology at Auburn University unites teaching, research, and outreach efforts to provide access to physical activity for local, statewide, and global communities. This paper provides a brief overview of the programs as well as strategies to mobilize efforts for physical activity outreach within an academic setting. School-wide efforts include youth initiatives, physical activity assessments offered through our TigerFit program, and the United States Olympic Team Handball training center. All programs provide service-learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as well as outreach outcomes. Furthermore, the programs provide a platform for scholarship in the form of publications, partnerships for grant submissions, and student research projects. Merging teaching, outreach, and scholarship has provided longevity for the programs, thereby establishing long-term social ties to the community and providing continued access to physical activity to promote public health.

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C. Jessie Jones, Carter Rakovski, Dana Rutledge and Angela Gutierrez

Purpose:

To compare fitness of women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) aged 50+ with performance standards associated with functional independence in late life.

Methods:

Data came from a longitudinal study tracking physical and cognitive function of 93 women with FMS and included the most recent symptoms, activity levels, and fitness assessments.

Results:

Most women performed below criterion-referenced fitness standards for all measures. Nearly 90% percent of those < 70 years scored below the standard for lower body strength. Only ~20% of respondents < 70 years old met the criteria for aerobic endurance. A third of those aged over 70 met the standard in agility and dynamic balance. Physical activity was positively associated with fitness performance, while pain and depression symptoms were negatively associated.

Discussion:

High proportions of women with FMS do not meet fitness standards recommended for maintaining physical independence in late life, indicating a risk for disability. Regular fitness assessments and targeted exercise interventions are warranted.

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Blanche Evans, David Hopkins and Tracey Toney

The purpose of this study was to determine the metabolic stress of a self-paced half-mile walk test incorporated in the AAHPERD functional fitness assessment for older adults. Forty-three subjects, aged 57 to 75, completed a half-mile walk on an indoor track (IT) and during a treadmill simulation (TS) of the track walk. Treadmill data indicated that subjects exercised at a mean VO2 of 14.7 ml · kg−1 · min−1 and mean heart rate (b · min−1) of 129. A significant difference (p ≤ .05) was found between IT and TS on rating of perceived exertion. Results indicate that older subjects selected a pace that stressed their cardiorespiratory system without producing severe fatigue or medical complications. Therefore, the half-mile walk test appears to be a safe test that may be incorporated in functional fitness testing. However, its ability to determine functional capacity needs further study.

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Del N. Konopka, Robin P. Shook, Marian L. Kohut, Rosalie Vos Tulp and Warren D. Franke

The 6-min walk test (6MWT) is a common component of fitness assessments of older adults; however, differing course configurations might affect 6MWT performance. It is unclear how comparable 2 different configurations are. To determine the comparability of 2 courses, 35 adults ≥65 years of age completed two 6MWT, once walking around a 20- by 5-yd outdoor rectangle and once on an indoor oval track (circumference 144.3 yd). Scores for the 2 tests were internally consistent (intraclass correlation coefficient = .95). The participants walked farther on the oval track than around the rectangle (639 ± 19 vs. 582 ± 16 yd; p < .0001), but responses to the rectangular configuration could be readily estimated using the equation 66.7 yd + 0.807 × (oval walking distance), R 2 = .85. Thus, within-participant responses are similar across both 6MWT, but the course configuration affects the distance walked.

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Han C.G. Kemper and Willem Van Mechelen

The purpose of this article is to clarify the scientific basis of physical fitness assessment in children and to review the European efforts to develop a EUROFIT fitness test battery for the youth in the countries of the Council of Europe. The development of EUROFIT is based on the efforts made in the United States in the 1950s and in Europe in the 1980s. Physical fitness measurement is not identical to physiological measurement: The EUROFIT tests are aimed at measuring abilities rather than skills. Correlations between physical fitness tests and physiological laboratory tests show varying results and, therefore, need to be continued. Reliability of fitness tests needs to be continually studied. Because of the multipurposes of physical fitness testing, EUROFIT norm- and criterion-referenced scales for EUROFIT have to be developed. Examples of scaling methods are given. Implementation of the EUROFIT fitness tests for educational purposes is urgently needed.

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Kenneth H. Pitetti, Jeffrey E. Fernandez, David C. Pizarro and Nancy B. Stubbs

This study set out to develop a simple field testing protocol for evaluating the aerobic capacity, forearm isometric strength, and percent body fat of mentally retarded individuals (MRI). A total of 33 (MR) (M IQ=68) subjects (26 males, 7 females) ranging in age from 12 to 49 years participated in this study. A submaximal exercise test using the Schwinn Air-Dyne ergometer was used to estimate aerobic capacity (V̇O2max). Forearm strength was determined by using a hand grip isometric dynamometer. Percent body fat (%BF) was determined by the skinfold method and bioelectrical impedance. All 33 MR subjects who were tested successfully completed the fitness assessment protocol. Correlation coefficients for directly measured versus estimated V̇O2 max and test-retest for forearm strength for 10 of the subjects was .91 and .95, respectively. Slight variations were seen in the methods used to determine %BF. Based on these statistics, it is recommended that the protocol used in this study be considered by those involved in the physical education or training of MRI.

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Melissa Bopp, Christopher Bopp and Megan Schuchert

Background:

Active transportation (AT) has been associated with positive health outcomes, yet limited research has addressed this with college students, a population at-risk for inactivity. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between AT behavior and objectively measured fitness outcomes.

Methods:

A volunteer, convenience sample (n = 299) of college students from a large northeastern university completed a survey about their AT habits to and on campus and psychosocial constructs related to AT and participated in a laboratory-based fitness assessment (cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition).Off-campus students were dichotomized as nonactive (0−1 AT trips/day) or active travelers (> 1 AT trips/day) to campus; t-tests compared nonactive and active travelers for psychosocial and fitness variables.

Results:

Students were 56.3% male, 79.2% non-Hispanic White, and primarily living off-campus (87%). Most students (n = 177, 59.2%) reported active travel between classes. Off-campus students were primarily active travelers (76.1%). Active travelers to campus had greater cardiovascular fitness (P = .005), were more flexible (P = .006) and had lower systolic blood pressure (P = .05) compared with nonactive travelers.

Conclusion:

This study documents a relationship between AT behavior and objectively measured fitness among college students and provides a rationale for targeting this behavior as a method for improving health outcomes.