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      Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health

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          Abstract

          This review aims to summarize the latest developments with regard to physical fitness and several health outcomes in young people. The literature reviewed suggests that (1) cardiorespiratory fitness levels are associated with total and abdominal adiposity; (2) both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness are shown to be associated with established and emerging cardiovascular disease risk factors; (3) improvements in muscular fitness and speed/agility, rather than cardiorespiratory fitness, seem to have a positive effect on skeletal health; (4) both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness enhancements are recommended in pediatric cancer patients/survivors in order to attenuate fatigue and improve their quality of life; and (5) improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness have positive effects on depression, anxiety, mood status and self-esteem, and seem also to be associated with a higher academic performance. In conclusion, health promotion policies and physical activity programs should be designed to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, but also two other physical fitness components such us muscular fitness and speed/agility. Schools may play an important role by identifying children with low physical fitness and by promoting positive health behaviors such as encouraging children to be active, with special emphasis on the intensity of the activity.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          International Journal of Obesity
          Int J Obes
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          0307-0565
          1476-5497
          January 2008
          December 4 2007
          January 2008
          : 32
          : 1
          : 1-11
          Article
          10.1038/sj.ijo.0803774
          18043605
          0a6d882a-6d80-4311-9b4c-c4bedb7edce1
          © 2008

          http://www.springer.com/tdm

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