Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Children Are Getting Weaker

A recent study published in Acta Paediatrica indicated that English children have become weaker over the last decade. In 2008, the physical fitness of 315 ten year olds was compared to 308 ten year olds in 1998. The height to weight ratio (BMI) was the same for both groups of 10 year old children. The results indicated the following:
  • number of sit ups decreased by 27.1%
  • arm strength decreased by 26%
  • grip strength decreased by 7%
  • twice as many children could not hold their own weight when hanging from bars
I know this is just one study but it brings up some questions... Is the same true for children in the United States or is it even worse? What does this mean in terms of pediatric therapy evaluations? If the tests we use are more than 10 years old are we getting a true comparison for a child today?

Think about the general population of children. For example, the Presidential Physical Fitness test that is frequently used throughout schools is based on a 1985 School Population Fitness Survey. It was validated in 1998, by means of comparison with a large nationwide sample collected in 1994. Therefore, the data was validated in 1998 but the initial data is over 25 years old! Does anyone know if fewer and fewer children are receiving the awards? Interesting...

Reference: Richard Alleyne. Modern life has made British children weaker in the last decade. Retrieved on 5/25/11 from

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