Reference curves for a fitness battery developed for children ages 5-12 years in England

Elizabeth Smith, Kate Wilkinson, Steve Wyatt, Pk Vaish

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Reference curves have already been created for a variety of different physical testing batteries across a number of countries. Due to results differing between countries for the same sex and age, it is important that reference curves are created specific for each country. Therefore, the aim of this study was to provide reference curves for five different fitness tests that assess the core components of health related fitness within children in England. Method: Following institutional ethics approval, parental informed consent and child assent was obtained for a total of 39,199 children aged between 5 and 12 years completed tests for explosive power, agility, hand eye coordination, lower body strength and upper body strength. To calculate reference values Generalised Additive Models for Location, Scale and Shape (GAMLSS) were used. Results: Reference curves and centiles show differences in performance levels of the fitness tests between sex and age groups. These reference curves and centiles provide age and sex comparisons to enable progress monitoring of children’s physical fitness competence within England and comparisons to other countries. Conclusion: Girls are outperformed from a young age group and both upper and lower body strength decreases are seen at ages nine and ten. In physical activity and health related fitness interventions, both girls and boys in Key stage two should be targeted to maintain progression and lessen the gender divide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1495
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Physical Education and Sport
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Normative data
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Physical education


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