Hanssen-Doose, A., Niessner, C., Oriwol, D., Bös, K., Woll, A. & Worth, A. (2020). Population-based trends in physical fitness of children and adolescents in Germany, 2003-2017, European Journal of Sport Science.
Abstract Physical fitness is an important health resource. From 2003 onwards, the MoMo study, a part of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), has investigated physical fitness on the basis of nationally representative data. The objective of this paper was to analyse trends in physical fitness of three cohorts at the ages of 4–17 years. Changes within 10 test items of the MoMo-test profile are reported. The mean values of physical fitness and the relevant influencing factors were directly compared across cohorts (in the total group and in age-and sex-subgroups). Statistical significance of differences was examined by calculating the confidence intervals (95% CI) for complex samples; effect sizes were determined using Cohen's d. The results indicated that physical fitness levels of German children and adolescents initially slightly increased between MoMo baseline (2003–2006) and wave 1 (2009–2012). This could partly be attributed to increased physical activity in sports clubs and in extracurricular sports at school. Then, between MoMo wave 1 and MoMo wave 2 (2014–2017) the physical fitness of children and adolescents in Germany remained the same, as did all influencing factors with the exception of extracurricular sport. From a public health perspective, programmes and measures that can increase the chances for all children and adolescents to strive for greater physical fitness should be of the highest priority.