To analyse the physical fitness of a large sample of the French population across different ages.
Observational cross-sectional study.
Data were collected from the Athletic Track and Field Federation, which organised events dedicated to measuring physical fitness. The events took place in 22 regions between 2006 and 2010.
French volunteer citizens (N=31 349) aged between 4 and 80 years old who participated in events dedicated to measuring physical fitness.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
We assessed the results of the following fitness tests: 20 m shuttle run, standing broad jump, repeated squat jump, 4×10 m shuttle run, speed, flexibility and push-ups in relation to age and body mass index (BMI) using Spearman's rho, a one-way analysis of variance. A bi-exponential model was used to represent the performance with age.
Our major results showed higher performances for men and for subjects with normal BMI at all age groups except for the flexibility test. BMI was strongly correlated across all ages with physical fitness p<0.0001. Furthermore, through bi-exponential model, a mean peak performance was identified at 26.32 years of age for men and 22.18 years of age for women.
Physical fitness assessment using a simple series of tests on the general population offers an important indicator of health status. The possibility of observing the evolution of fitness levels with time provides an important monitoring method from a public health perspective. Further research is needed to reinforce and evaluate the approach.
Keywords: Epidemiology, Public Health