1958–2008: 50 years of youth fitness tests in the united states

James R. Morrow, Weimo Zhu, Don B. Franks, Marilu D. Meredith, Christine Spain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The AAHPER Youth Fitness Test, the first U.S. national fitness test, was published 50 years ago. The seminal work of Krause and Hirschland influenced the fitness world and continues to do so today. Important youth fitness test initiatives in the last half century are summarized. Key elements leading to continued interest in youth fitness testing at the start of the 21st century include (a) concerns about children and youth fitness levels, (b) AAHPER(D)-led youth fitness battery development, (c) differentiation between performance-related and health-related fitness testing, (d) the numerous youth fitness tests developed, (e) collaborative discussions on development and adoption of a unified national youth fitness battery, (f) computerization of youth fitness test results, (g) differentiation between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced evaluation of student results, and (h) concern about youth fitness levels (again, but with a focus on health). We have come full circle on youth fitness interests. This article summarizes the key youth fitness tests in the second half of the 20th century and projects future considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Children
  • Health-related
  • Testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


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