Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

John Fitzgerald


Muscular fitness is a very important indicator of health. Using a systematic review strategy, the aim of this study was to estimate the temporal trends in broad jump performance of United States youth. Broad jump data on apparently healthy United States youth (aged 10–17 years) were located through a systematic electronic database search and by pearling reference lists, topical systematic reviews and personal libraries. Sample-weighted temporal trends (expressed as percent and standardized trends) were estimated for separate age-sex groups using best-fitting regression models relating the year of testing to mean jump performance. Mean trends standardized to the year 1985 were calculated using a post-stratified population-weighting procedure. Data from 12 studies comprising 16 unique datasets were used to estimate trends for 65,527 United States youth between 1911 and 1990. Collectively, there was a small improvement in broad jump performance of 7.9% (95%CI: 7.1 to 8.6) or 1.0% per decade (95%CI: 0.9 to 1.1). Improvements were observed for all sex and age groups, with improvements substantially larger for girls than for boys, and similar for children (10–12 years) and adolescents (13–17 years). Improvements in broad jump performance were not always uniform across time, with steady improvements observed for boys, a diminishing in the rate of improvement observed for girls and adolescents, and an increasing rate of improvement observed for children. Given that muscular fitness is a good marker of health, and that the broad jump is a practical, feasible, and scalable marker of muscular fitness, then the

broad jump should be routinely assessed to screen and monitor the health and muscular fitness of United States youth.