Temporal trends in the physical fitness of Hong Kong adolescents between 1998 and 2015

Eric Tsz-Chun Poon, Grant Tomkinson, Wendy Yajun Huang, Stephen H.S. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Low physical fitness in adolescence is linked with increased cardiometabolic risk and early all-cause mortality. This study aimed to estimate temporal trends in the physical fitness of Hong Kong adolescents aged 12–17 years between 1998 and 2015. Physical fitness (9-min run/walk, sit-ups, push-ups, and sit-and-reach) and body size data in a total of 28,059 adolescents tested across five population-representative surveys of Hong Kong secondary school pupils, were reported. Temporal trends in means were estimated at the gender-age level by best-fitting sample-weighted linear regression, with national trends estimated by a post-stratified population-weighting procedure. Overall, there were small declines in 9-min run/walk (effect size (ES)=−0.29 (95%CI: −0.32, −0.26)) and sit-ups performance (ES=−0.24 (95%CI: −0.27, −0.21)), with negligible changes in push-ups and sit-and-reach performance. There were small concurrent increases in both mean height and body mass, with a negligible increase in sum of skinfolds. Trends in mean physical fitness and body size/were not always uniform across the population distribution. The small declines in mean 9-min run/walk and sit-ups performance for Hong Kong adolescents are suggestive of corresponding declines in cardiorespiratory fitness and abdominal/core endurance, respectively. Increased national health promotion strategies are required to improve existing trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-735
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number10
Early online date12 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • adolescent
  • body size
  • cardiorespiratory fitness
  • cross-sectional studies
  • government
  • physical fitness
  • public health


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