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Relative Age Effect in Physical Fitness during the Elementary School Years

1
Division of Sport, Physical Activity and Health, University of Education Upper Austria, 4020 Linz, Austria
2
Escuela de Ciencias de la Actividad Física, el Deporte y la Salud, Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH), Santiago 7500618, Chile
3
Division of Physical Education, Private Educational College (KPH-ES), 6422 Stams, Austria
4
Department of Sports Science, Leopold-Franzens University Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
5
Olympic Training Center Upper Austria, 4020 Linz, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maurizio Aricò
Received: 22 March 2021 / Revised: 1 June 2021 / Accepted: 4 June 2021 / Published: 8 June 2021
Age-groups are commonly implemented in education and sports in order to provide fair and equal opportunities. Various studies, however, have shown a competitive advantage for early born children over their relatively younger peers, which is referred to as relative age effect. The present study examined differences in various components of physical fitness in Austrian elementary-school children. A total of 18,168 children (51% boys) between 6 and 11 years of age provided valid data on anthropometric characteristics and physical fitness. Specifically, children completed eight fitness tests that assessed cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and power, speed, agility, flexibility and object control. Across age-specific quartiles, older children were significantly taller and heavier than their younger peers. Older children also displayed better performance for strength and power, speed, agility and object control, while differences in cardio-respiratory endurance were less pronounced. These results highlight the presence of a relative age effect during the elementary school years and emphasize the need to consider individual differences in the evaluation of children’s performance. As all children should be given equal opportunities to engage successfully in physical education and sports, physical education teachers and youth coaches need to be educated on the implications of a relative age effect. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; cardiorespiratory endurance; muscular strength; muscular power; speed; agility; object control; biological maturation children; cardiorespiratory endurance; muscular strength; muscular power; speed; agility; object control; biological maturation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Drenowatz, C.; Ferrari, G.; Greier, K.; Hinterkörner, F. Relative Age Effect in Physical Fitness during the Elementary School Years. Pediatr. Rep. 2021, 13, 322-333. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pediatric13020040

AMA Style

Drenowatz C, Ferrari G, Greier K, Hinterkörner F. Relative Age Effect in Physical Fitness during the Elementary School Years. Pediatric Reports. 2021; 13(2):322-333. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pediatric13020040

Chicago/Turabian Style

Drenowatz, Clemens, Gerson Ferrari, Klaus Greier, and Franz Hinterkörner. 2021. "Relative Age Effect in Physical Fitness during the Elementary School Years" Pediatric Reports 13, no. 2: 322-333. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pediatric13020040

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