A1 Journal article (refereed)
Physical fitness development in relation to changes in body composition and physical activity in adolescence (2021)

Joensuu, L., Kujala, U. M., Kankaanpää, A., Syväoja, H., Kulmala, J., Hakonen, H., Oksanen, H., Kallio, J., & Tammelin, T. H. (2021). Physical fitness development in relation to changes in body composition and physical activity in adolescence. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 31(2), 456-464. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13847

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Joensuu, Laura; Kujala, Urho M.; Kankaanpää, Anna; Syväoja, Heidi; Kulmala, Janne; Hakonen, Harto; Oksanen, Hermanni; Kallio, Jouni; Tammelin, Tuija H.

Journal or series: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports

ISSN: 0905-7188

eISSN: 1600-0838

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 31

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 456-464

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13847

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72112


The decline in adolescents’ physical fitness (PF) in recent decades has raised concerns about current population’s possible future challenges with health and physical functional capacity. This study explored the associations between body composition, physical activity, maturation, and PF development in adolescents. Furthermore, PF development of adolescents with low initial PF was assessed. A 2‐year observational study was conducted between spring 2013 and 2015. Nine comprehensive schools and their 10‐ to 13‐year‐old students were invited to participate in the study (1778), and a total of 971 students (54.6%) agreed. Cardiorespiratory fitness (20‐metre shuttle run), muscular fitness (push‐ups), fundamental movement skills (5‐leaps test), body composition (bioelectrical impedance analysis), moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity (accelerometer) and pubertal status (self‐assessment questionnaire) were measured at 1‐year intervals. Latent growth curve modeling (LGM) was used to study PF development over time. Change in fat mass had the strongest and most coherent associations with PF development during adolescence. Fat‐free mass, moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity and pubertal status were associated with PF development, although not systematically. Subgroup analyses showed that PF development in the low fitness group followed a similar pattern as the whole population. However, their PF remained significantly lower throughout the 2‐year period. The findings suggest that fat accumulation is an essential detrimental factor for PF development during adolescence. Actions to prevent excessive fat accumulation might help to prevent future declines in functional capacity. Indications that low fitness levels sustain during adolescence highlight the relevance of detecting these individuals and providing interventions already before adolescence.

Keywords: children (age groups); young people; physical fitness; physical activeness; physical training; physical development; body composition

Free keywords: children; cardiorespiratory fitness; muscular fitness; fundamental movement skills; fat mass; fat-free mass

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 17:55