Physical fitness reference standards for preschool children: The PREFIT project

Cadenas Sánchez, Cristina and Intemann, Timm and Labayen, Idoia and Peinado Lozano, Ana Belen and Vidal Conti, Josep and Sanchís Moysi, Joaquín and Moliner Urdiales, Diego and Rodríguez Pérez, Manuel A. and García Prieto, Jorge Cañete and Fernández Santos, Jorge del Rosario and Martínez Téllez, Borja and Vicente Rodríguez, Germán and Löf, Marie and Ruíz, Jonathan R. and Ortega, Francisco B. (2019). Physical fitness reference standards for preschool children: The PREFIT project. "Journal of Science And Medicine in Sport", v. 22 (n. 4); pp. 430-437. ISSN 1440-2440.


Title: Physical fitness reference standards for preschool children: The PREFIT project
  • Cadenas Sánchez, Cristina
  • Intemann, Timm
  • Labayen, Idoia
  • Peinado Lozano, Ana Belen
  • Vidal Conti, Josep
  • Sanchís Moysi, Joaquín
  • Moliner Urdiales, Diego
  • Rodríguez Pérez, Manuel A.
  • García Prieto, Jorge Cañete
  • Fernández Santos, Jorge del Rosario
  • Martínez Téllez, Borja
  • Vicente Rodríguez, Germán
  • Löf, Marie
  • Ruíz, Jonathan R.
  • Ortega, Francisco B.
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Journal of Science And Medicine in Sport
Date: 2019
ISSN: 1440-2440
Volume: 22
Freetext Keywords: Cardiorespiratory fitness; Muscular strength; Motor skills; Reference values
Faculty: Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte (INEF) (UPM)
Department: Salud y Rendimiento Humano
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

Full text

[img] PDF - Users in campus UPM only - Requires a PDF viewer, such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB)


Objectives. Reference values are necessary for classifying children, for health screening, and for early prevention as many non-communicable diseases aggravate during growth and development. While physical fitness reference standards are available in children aged 6 and older, such information is lacking in preschool children. Therefore, the purposes of this study were (1) to provide sex-and age-specific physical fitness reference standards for Spanish preschool children; and (2) to study sex differences across this age period and to characterise fitness performance throughout the preschool period. Design. Cross-sectional. Methods. A total of 3179 preschool children (1678 boys) aged 2.8–6.4 years old from Spain were included in the present study. Physical fitness was measured using the PREFIT battery. Results. Age- and sex-specific percentiles for the physical fitness components are provided. Boys performed better than girls in the cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, and speed-agility tests over the whole preschool period studied and for the different percentiles. In contrast, girls performed slightly better than boys in the balance test. Older children had better performance in all fitness tests than their younger counterparts. Conclusions. Our study provides age- and sex-specific physical fitness reference standards in preschool children allowing interpretation of fitness assessment. Sexual dimorphism in fitness tests exists already at preschool age, and these differences become larger with age. These findings will help health, sport, and school professionals to identify preschool children with a high/very low fitness level, to examine changes in fitness over time, and to analyse those changes obtained due to intervention effects.

Funding Projects

Government of SpainRYC-2011-09011UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
Government of SpainBES-2014-068829UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
Government of SpainRYC-2010-05957UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
Government of SpainRD16/0022RETICSUnspecifiedUnspecified
Government of SpainDEP2005-00046/ACTIEXERNETUnspecifiedRed de Investigación en ejercicio físico y salud para poblaciones especiales

More information

Item ID: 64230
DC Identifier:
OAI Identifier:
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.09.227
Official URL:
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 03 Nov 2020 12:20
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2020 12:20
  • Logo InvestigaM (UPM)
  • Logo GEOUP4
  • Logo Open Access
  • Open Access
  • Logo Sherpa/Romeo
    Check whether the anglo-saxon journal in which you have published an article allows you to also publish it under open access.
  • Logo Dulcinea
    Check whether the spanish journal in which you have published an article allows you to also publish it under open access.
  • Logo de Recolecta
  • Logo del Observatorio I+D+i UPM
  • Logo de OpenCourseWare UPM