A1 Journal article (refereed)
European fitness landscape for children and adolescents : updated reference values, fitness maps and country rankings based on nearly 8 million test results from 34 countries gathered by the FitBack network (2023)

Ortega, Francisco B., Leskošek, Bojan, Blagus, Rok, Gil-Cosano, José J., Mäestu, Jarek, Tomkinson, Grant R., Ruiz, Jonatan R., Mäestu, Evelin, Starc, Gregor, Milanovic, Ivana, Tammelin, Tuija H., Sorić, Maroje, Scheuer, Claude, Carraro, Attilio, Kaj, Mónika, Csányi, Tamás, Sardinha, Luis B., Lenoir, Matthieu, Emeljanovas, Arunas, Mieziene, Brigita, Sidossis, Labros S., Pihu, Maret, Lovecchio, Nicola, Konstabel, Kenn, Tambalis, Konstantinos D., Štefan, Lovro, Drenowatz, Clemens, Rubín, Lukáš, Gontarev, Seryozha, Castro-Piñero, José, Vanhelst, Jérémy, O’Keeffe, Brendan, Veiga, Oscar L., Gisladottir, Thordis, Sandercock, Gavin, Misigoj-Durakovic, Marjeta, Niessner, Claudia, Riso, Eva-Maria, Popovic, Stevo, Kuu, Saima, Chinapaw, Mai, Clavel, Iván, Labayen, Idoia, Dobosz, Janusz, Colella, Dario, Kriemler, Susi, Salaj, Sanja, Noriega, Maria Jose, Bös, Klaus, Sánchez-López, Mairena, Lakka, Timo A., Tabacchi, Garden, Novak, Dario, Ahrens, Wolfgang, Wedderkopp, Niels, Jurak, Gregor, the FitBack consortium, HELENA consortium, IDEFICS consortium. (2023). European fitness landscape for children and adolescents : updated reference values, fitness maps and country rankings based on nearly 8 million test results from 34 countries gathered by the FitBack network. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57(5), 299-310. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2022-106176

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsOrtega, Francisco B.; Leskošek, Bojan; Blagus, Rok; Gil-Cosano, José J.; Mäestu, Jarek; Tomkinson, Grant R.; Ruiz, Jonatan R.; Mäestu, Evelin; Starc, Gregor; Milanovic, Ivana; et al.

Journal or seriesBritish Journal of Sports Medicine



Publication year2023

Publication date09/01/2023


Issue number5

Pages range299-310

PublisherBMJ Publishing Group

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/90109

Web address of parallel published publication (pre-print)https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.09.22275139v1


Objectives (1) To develop reference values for health-related fitness in European children and adolescents aged 6–18 years that are the foundation for the web-based, open-access and multilanguage fitness platform (FitBack); (2) to provide comparisons across European countries.

Methods This study builds on a previous large fitness reference study in European youth by (1) widening the age demographic, (2) identifying the most recent and representative country-level data and (3) including national data from existing fitness surveillance and monitoring systems. We used the Assessing Levels of PHysical Activity and fitness at population level (ALPHA) test battery as it comprises tests with the highest test–retest reliability, criterion/construct validity and health-related predictive validity: the 20 m shuttle run (cardiorespiratory fitness); handgrip strength and standing long jump (muscular strength); and body height, body mass, body mass index and waist circumference (anthropometry). Percentile values were obtained using the generalised additive models for location, scale and shape method.

Results A total of 7 966 693 test results from 34 countries (106 datasets) were used to develop sex-specific and age-specific percentile values. In addition, country-level rankings based on mean percentiles are provided for each fitness test, as well as an overall fitness ranking. Finally, an interactive fitness platform, including individual and group reporting and European fitness maps, is provided and freely available online (www.fitbackeurope.eu).

Conclusion This study discusses the major implications of fitness assessment in youth from health, educational and sport perspectives, and how the FitBack reference values and interactive web-based platform contribute to it. Fitness testing can be conducted in school and/or sport settings, and the interpreted results be integrated in the healthcare systems across Europe.

Keywordschildren (age groups)young peopleconditionphysical fitnessfitness testsEuropeansinternational comparison

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-03-07 at 20:46