Adolescence: These years, from puberty to adulthood, may be roughly divided into three stages: early adolescence, generally ages 12 and 13; middle adolescence, ages 14 to 16; and late adolescence, ages 17 to 21. In addition to physiological growth, seven key intellectual, psychological, and social developmental tasks take place during these years. The fundamental purpose of these tasks is to form one’s own identity and to prepare for adulthood.1
Adverse events: In the context of this report, any unexpected, damaging effect that occurs as the result of a performing a fitness test, such as an injury or physical pain.
Body composition: The components that make up body weight, including fat, muscle, and bone content. The committee defined body composition operationally as a component of fitness, a marker of health, and a modifier of fitness for the purposes of this report.
Cardiorespiratory endurance: The ability to perform large-muscle, whole-body exercise at moderate to high intensities for extended periods of time (Saltin, 1973).
1Available at http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/pages/Stages-of-Adolescence.aspx (accessed August 23, 2012).
Childhood: The period in human development that extends from birth until the onset of puberty.2
Concurrent validity: A type of measurement validity; a form of criterion-related validity; the degree to which the outcomes of one test correlate with outcomes on a criterion test when both tests are given at relatively the same time (Portney and Watkins, 2008).
Criterion-referenced standards: Evaluation standards used to interpret physical fitness test scores and provide information about a participant’s health status. They are considered the most accurate measure of a construct and are used to validate field-based measures.
Cut-point (cutoff score): A test score that represents the minimum level of performance that must be achieved for a participant to be said to be at reduced risk or fit/healthy. Cut-points are critical to interpretation of the results of health-related fitness tests since they serve as a way to distinguish individuals and populations that may be at risk of poor health outcomes from those that are not.
Disability: Any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. For the purposes of this report, this term should be construed in the broadest sense, covering impairments (i.e., a problem in body function or structure), activity limitations (i.e., a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action), and participation restrictions (i.e., a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations). Adapted from the World Health Organization definition.3
Feasibility: In this report, the degree to which a fitness test can be administered and interpreted with ease. It is defined by criteria such as ease of administration; burden on participants and administrators; privacy and safety; equipment and space; complexity; and suitability for all socioeconomic levels, education levels, and ages.
Fitnessgram: A health-related fitness test and reporting program introduced by the Cooper Institute in 1988 (Cooper Institute, 2010).
2Available at http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/childhood (accessed August 25, 2012).
Flexibility: The intrinsic property of body tissues that determines the range of motion achievable without injury at a joint or group of joints (adapted from Holt et al., 1996).
Health marker: An indicator of a particular health or disease state within an organism.
Health risk factor: A characteristic statistically associated with, although not necessarily causally related to, an increased risk of morbidity or mortality.4 In this report, it refers to markers (characteristics) associated with a disease or illness that increase the chances of contracting that disease or illness.
Hypokinetic-related diseases: A term coined by Kraus and Raab, who described “somatic or mental derangements” that are “caused by insufficient motion” (Kraus and Raab, 1961, p. 8). In this report, hypokinetic-related diseases are health problems or illnesses that are caused partly by the lack of regular physical activity (Corbin and Lindsey, 2007, p. 320).
Metabolic health: Freedom from diseases or conditions associated with metabolic risk factors (metabolic syndrome); the sum of all cellular processes that provide the human body with the ability to function optimally and resist disease.
Modifying factors: As related to physical fitness tests, those factors that can independently affect an individual’s level of fitness. They include both factors that are measurable in the field (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, maturity) and those that are not (e.g., heredity, practice level, skill level).
Motor skill: The ability to perform complex muscle-and-nerve acts that produce movement. Fine motor skills are small movements such as writing and tying shoes; gross motor skills are large movements such as walking and kicking.
Muscle endurance: The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated contractions against a constant external load for an extended period of time (Kell et al., 2001). The constant load can be either an absolute external resistance, which provides a measure of absolute endurance, or a relative load based on an individual’s maximal strength, which provides a measure of relative endurance.
Muscle power: A physiological construct reflecting the rate at which work is performed (Knuttgen and Kraemer, 1987). It is derived from the product of the force production of a muscle or group of muscles and the velocity of the muscle contraction during a single- or multijoint action (Sale and Norman, 1982).
Muscle strength: The ability of skeletal muscle (single or group) to produce measureable force, torque, or moment about a single or multiple joints, typically during a single maximal voluntary contraction and under a defined set of controlled conditions, which include specificity of movement pattern, muscle contraction type (concentric, isometric, or eccentric), and contraction velocity (Farpour-Lambert and Blimkie, 2008; Kell et al., 2001; Sale and Norman, 1982).
Musculoskeletal fitness: A theoretical construct reflecting the integrated function of an individual’s muscle strength, endurance, and power to enable the performance of work against one’s own body or an external resistance.
Physical fitness: A set of attributes that people have or achieve relating to their ability to perform physical activity (HHS, 1996).
Reliability: The dependability of test scores, their freedom from error, and their reproducibility in repeated trials on the same individual. A reliable test will have little test-retest, intratester, and intertester variability.
Validity: The extent to which a test measures what it is designed to measure; the degree to which evidence supports the interpretation of test scores (Eignor, 2001).
VO2max: Maximal oxygen consumption—the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise. It is considered to be the criterion-referenced standard for the fitness component of cardiorespiratory endurance.5
Youth: For this report, a period of human development that includes ages 5-18.
Corbin, C. B., and R. Lindsey. 2007. Fitness for life. 5th ed. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company.
Eignor, D. R. 2001. Standards for the development and use of tests: The standards for educational and psychological testing. European Journal of Psychological Assessment 17(3):157-163.
Farpour-Lambert, N. J., and C. J. R. Blimkie. 2008. Muscle strength. In Paediatric exercise science and medicine. 2nd ed., edited by N. Armstrong and W. van Mechelen. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Pp. 37-53.
HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). 1996. Physical activity and health: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Holt, J., L. E. Holt, and T. W. Pelham. 1996. Flexibility redefined. In Biomechanics in sports XIII, edited by T. Bauer. Thunder Bay, Ontario: Lakehead University. Pp. 170-174.
Kell, R. T., G. Bell, and A. Quinney. 2001. Musculoskeletal fitness, health outcomes and quality of life. Sports Medicine 31(12):863-873.
Knuttgen, H. G., and W. J. Kraemer. 1987. Terminology and measurement in exercise performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 1(1):1-10.
Kraus, H., and W. Raab. 1961. Hypokinetic disease. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers.
Meredith, M. D., and G. J. Welk, eds. 2010. Fitnessgram/Activitygram test administration manual. 4th ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Portney, L. G., and M. P. Watkins. 2008. Foundations of clinical research: Applications to practice. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Sale, D. G., and R. W. Norman. 1982. Testing strength and power. In Physiological testing of the elite athlete, edited by J. D. Macdougall, H. A. Wenger, and H. J. Green. Canada: Mutual Press. Pp. 7-37.
Saltin, B. 1973. Oxygen transport by the circulatory system during exercise in man. In Limiting factors of physical performance, edited by J. Keul. Stuttgart, Germany: Thieme Medical Publishers. Pp. 235-252.