Adolescents in southern Europe are less fit in terms of cardiorespiratory capacity, strength and speed-agility than their central-northern European peers. Moreover, southern adolescents are more obese and present higher levels of total and abdominal fat than those from the centre-north of Europe.
These are some of the remarkable results from an ambitious study conducted by scientists from the University of Granada Department of Medical Physiology in collaboration with 25 other European research groups. The study compared the level of physical fitness of adolescents living in Mediterranean countries (Spain, Italy and Greece) with adolescents from the centre and north of Europe. The results have been published in the latest issue of the prestigious Pediatrics journalthe most important in its field worldwide.
The principal author of this research is Francisco B. Ortega, currently a Ramn y Cajal researcher in the Department of Physical and Sports Education at the University of Granada. Ortega underlines the fact that "an adolescent's level of fitness has been shown to be an important indicator of their present and future state of health, hence the relevance of differences found between southern and central-northern Europe".
The study, coordinated by the University of Granada, included a total of 3528 adolescents from southern Europe (four cities in Spain, Italy and Greece) and central-northern Europe (six cities). All of them underwent a series of tests to measure their physical fitness, total and abdominal fat, and cardioembolic risk.
Adolescents from 9 countries
The methodology used in these 10 European cities, from nine different countries, was meticulously standardized. The researchers applied objective methods. For example, to assess physical activity, they used devices called accelerometers, which the adolescents wore around their waists for seven consecutive days. The accelerometers enabled the s
|Contact: Francisco B. Ortega|
University of Granada