Examining the seasonal variation and realiability of health-related fitness scores in children using a multivariate model.

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Barfield, J
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Middle Tennessee State University
The FITNESSGRAM is the latest test battery associated with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) that is purported to measure the physical fitness of children. To ensure that the battery is an appropriate assessment tool, validity and reliability evidence must be established. To this point, no battery reliability evidence of the FITNESSGRAM test has been reported. Additionally, it is important to document children's fitness changes during elementary school years from a multivariate perspective (i.e., fitness as one trait) and not strictly from a univariate perspective (i.e., separate interpretations for the one-mile run, pull-up, etc). The purpose of the study was to: (1) determine the optimal reliability of the FITNESSGRAM battery among children in grades 3 through 6; (2) evaluate the inter-individual changes in health-related fitness scores among children in grades 3 through 6 across a school year; and (3) evaluate intra-individual changes in health-related fitness scores among children in grades 3 through 6 across a school year.
The FITNESSGRAM test battery appears to be a reliable instrument to measure health-related fitness among children in grades 3 through 6. Children's health-related fitness, as a multivariate construct, is only moderately stable during the academic school year, with maturational changes impacting the stability of scores among children in grades 3 and 4 and motivational factors hampering stability among children in grade 6. Children in grade 5, however, seem to have the most stable health-related fitness scores over time. Finally, although children are classified into the same healthy/unhealthy categories from fall to spring fairly consistently, evidence exists that improvement in health-related fitness may not result from physical education classes only twice per week, especially in terms of body fatness.
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