Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition) Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition)
Rev Esp Cardiol. 2011;64:484-91 - Vol. 64 Num.06 DOI: 10.1016/j.rec.2011.02.010

Improving Physical Fitness in Adolescents Through a School-Based Intervention: the EDUFIT Study

Daniel N. Ardoy a,b,, Juan M. Fernández-Rodríguez c, Jonatan R. Ruiz d,e, Palma Chillón e, Vanesa España-Romero b,f, Manuel J. Castillo b, Francisco B. Ortega b,d

a Departamento de Educación Física, IES J. Martínez Ruiz Azorín, Yecla, Murcia, Consejería de Educación, Formación y Empleo, Murcia, Spain
b Departamento de Fisiología Médica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
c IES Vega del Argos, Cehegín, Murcia, Consejería de Educación, Formación y Empleo, Murcia, Spain
d Unit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden
e Departamento de Educación Física y Deportiva, Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y el Deporte, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
f Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, United States

Keywords

Adolescents. Physical fitness. Education. Health.

Abstract

Introduction and objectives

Physical fitness level is a marker of cardiovascular health in young people. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of a school-based intervention program, focused on increasing the volume and intensity of physical education (PE) sessions, on adolescents’ physical fitness.

Methods

Sixty-seven adolescents (12-14 years old) from three secondary school classes participated in a 16-week intervention. The classes were randomly allocated to the control group, experimental group 1 (EG1) or experimental group 2 (EG2). The control group received standard PE (2 sessions/week), the EG1 received 4 standard PE sessions/week and the EG2 received four high-intensity PE sessions/week. Aerobic fitness, muscle strength, speed-agility and flexibility were assessed using previously validated field-based tests before and after the intervention.

Results

Doubling the number of PE sessions/week resulted in improvements in aerobic fitness and flexibility (P=.008 and P=.04, respectively). Further increases in the intensity of the sessions were related to improvements in speed-agility (P<.001). The maximal oxygen consumption increased by 3 and 5mL/kg/min in the EG1 and EG2, respectively. No differences were observed for muscle strength.

Conclusions

The results suggest that doubling the frequency of PE sessions is a sufficient stimulus to improve physical fitness, particularly aerobic fitness, which has been shown to be a powerful indicator of cardiovascular health in children and adolescents. Future studies involving larger sample sizes should confirm or refute these findings.

1885-5857/© 2011 Sociedad Española de Cardiología. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved

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