Physical Fitness among School Children: Review of Empirical Studies and Implications for Physical and Health Education

Ignatius O. Nwimo, Scholarstica A. Orji


A systematic review of the literature was conducted to synthesize the recent available data on physical fitness among school children, so as to suggest implications of the studies’ findings for Physical and Health Education. Systematic searches of electronic databases and reference lists identified fifteen peer-reviewed studies on the subject matter meeting the inclusion criteria. These studies were reviewed in terms of aim, study design, population and sample, assessment tools, measures, and fitness outcomes. Based on the studies’ findings, implications for Physical and Health Education programmes in school are suggested. These include among others that since physical fitness scores of the boys are lower than those of girls, primary school PHE curriculum planners are challenged to re-examine the PHE curriculum so as to include activities that might aid primary school pupils improve on their strength and endurance, among others, in the PHE programme. Interventions to promote physical fitness should not only consider gender and age of schoolchildren, but also selected socio-demographic and behavioural factors, especially socioeconomic class and leisure activities. The need to stress physical fitness or physical training as an important objective of the educational programme in order to develop an appreciable level of physical fitness in the present day school children is also recommended.

Keywords: physical fitmess, school, children, review, empirical studies

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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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