Kevin Carver

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

Grant Tomkinson


Physical fitness is an important indicator of general health and sporting/athletic success. Several studies have highlighted large between-country differences in cardiorespiratory endurance, with little known about differences in other fitness components. A systematic review identified papers that reported descriptive Eurofit test results for apparently healthy (free from known disease/injury) 9- to 17-year-olds Europeans. An overall fitness index for each country was calculated as a population-weighted mean test-age-sex-specific z-score. Spearman’s correlations were used to calculate the association between country-specific fitness indices and broad socioeconomic/health indices. Performance indices were calculated for 18 countries using data collected on 2,779,165 children aged 9-17 years tested across nine Eurofit tests. The fittest children and adolescents were from Central-Northern Europe, with countries from Southern Europe demonstrating lower fitness levels. This study observed that income inequality was a moderate correlate of both musculoskeletal fitness and cardiorespiratory fitness, with higher-income countries out-performing their lower-income peers. Policies aimed at reducing the wealth gap could be a suitable population approach to improving the fitness levels of young people.