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Longitudinal development of physical fitness in Singapore children and adolescents
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Paper presented at the III International Conference of Physical Education and Sports Science (III ICPESS 2010) on “Youth in Physical Education and Sport”, Singapore, 25 - 28 May 2010
Up to 20% of curriculum time in physical education is devoted to physical fitness activities in Singapore schools. Results of fitness data collected in 1985-2003, among children and adolescents (Primary 4 - Junior College 2. N=236 female and N=218 male) show that longitudinal fitness development parallel physical changes in somatic growth (body mass and stature) in male and female youths with peak performance velocities of the majority of fitness attributes of male youths during Secondary 1-2 and in female youths during Primary 5-6. However, the highest values in physical fitness were attained in later years. These data mirror global physical fitness performance trends. Spearman rank correlations of physical fitness performance in male youths. with those attained in the year before and after the reference test years of Primary 5, Secondary 2. Secondary 4 and Junior College 2 were moderate-to-high (r=.29-.83. all p<.05), and were stronger in junior college and secondary school than in primary school. The equivalent rank correlations for body mass and stature were all >0.90. This implies than the stability of physical fitness performance increases with age, from childhood to adolescence and plausibly into early adulthood. Collectively. these data provide strong support that physical fitness tests in schools can be delimited to formal testing at Primary 5, Secondary 2. Secondary 3 and Junior College 2. rather than to test annually. This will free up time for other physical education activities for the holistic education of youths.
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