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Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


Purpose: To estimate temporal trends in broad jump performance for United States youth, a marker of muscular fitness and health.

Method: Electronic databases, topical systematic reviews, and personal libraries were systematically searched for studies reporting descriptive standing broad jump data for apparently healthy United States youth (age 10–17 years). Temporal trends at the sex-age level were estimated using sample-weighted regression models associating the year of testing to mean jump performance, with national trends standardized to the year 1985 using a post-stratified population-weighting procedure.

Results: Collectively, there was a small increase of 12.6 cm (95%CI: 12.5 to 12.7) or 7.9% (95%CI: 7.1 to 8.6) in 65,527 United States youth between 1911 and 1990. Increases were greater for girls (change in means [95% CI]: 17.1 cm [16.9 to 17.3]; 11.4% [10.7 to 12.2]) compared to boys (change in means [95% CI]: 8.5 cm [8.3 to 8.7]; 4.6% [3.8 to 5.4]), but did not differ between children (10–12 years) and adolescents (13–17 years). Increases in broad jump performance were not always uniform across time, with steady and progressive increases observed for boys and children, respectively, and a diminishing rate of increase observed for girls and adolescents.

Conclusions: Muscular fitness is a good marker of health, so greater broad jump performance from 1911 to 1990 may reflect corresponding changes in health. Routine assessment of broad jump performance may be useful to monitor trends in health and muscular fitness of United States youth due to its practicality, scalability, and predictive utility.






This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport on 13/02/2020, available online at: