Report at a Glance
BMI and Shuttle Run Among Techniques IOM Report Recommends for Youth Fitness Testing
Techniques ranging from running to push-ups to sit-and-reach tests have been used to measure various aspects of fitness in children and adults. However, evidence is sparse on how well some of these techniques correspond to desired health outcomes in children, fueling debate about the best fitness measures for youth.
Fitness testing has traditionally focused on four aspects: heart and lung function, body composition, muscular and skeletal fitness, and flexibility. A committee convened by the Institute of Medicine undertook a comprehensive review of the science and found that it supports the use of specific ways to measure three of these components -- cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, and musculoskeletal fitness -- in young people. These measurements should be used in national youth fitness surveys and school-based fitness tests, says the committee's report.