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Table 5 The relationship between physical activity and fitness

From: Systematic review of the relationships between physical activity and health indicators in the early years (0-4 years)

# of studies Design Quality assessment # of participants Absolute effect Quality
Risk of bias Inconsistency Indirectness Imprecision Other
Mean baseline age ranged from 4.04-4.48 years. One study reported the sample was of preschool age but did not provide a mean or range. Data were collected by longitudinal with 1-year follow-up and cross-sectional study designs. Fitness was assessed as cardiorespiratory fitness (treadmill test, 20-m shuttle run from the PREFIT fitness test battery), muscular fitness including handgrip strength and standing long jump (PREFIT fitness test battery), speed-agility (4 × 10 shuttle run from the PREFIT fitness test battery), and physical working capacity (Ruffier’s test using Ruffier–Dickson index). All outcomes were objectively measured.
1 Longitudinala Serious risk of biasb No serious inconsistency No serious indirectness No serious imprecision None 123 TPA was favourably associated with cardiorespiratory fitness [43]. VERY LOWc
2 Cross-sectionald Serious risk of biase No serious inconsistency No serious indirectness No serious imprecision Exposure/outcome gradientf 594 Cardiorespiratory fitness TPA was favourably associated with fitness (only for 95th, 90th, 75th but not 50th and 25th percentiles of vector magnitude in 1 study) in 2 studies [55, 117]. LPA was not associated with fitness in 1 study [55]. MPA was not associated with fitness in 1 study [55]. MVPA was favourably associated with fitness in 1 study [55]. VPA was favourably associated with fitness in 1 study [55]. Other fitness measures TPA was favourably associated with muscular fitness and speed-agility (only for 95th, 90th, 75th but not 50th and 25th percentiles of vector magnitude and not for standing long jump at the 75th percentile) in 1 study [55]. LPA was not associated with muscular fitness and speed-agility in 1 study [55]. MPA was not associated with muscular fitness and speed-agility in 1 study [55]. MVPA was favourably associated with muscular fitness (standing long jump but not handgrip strength) and speed-agility in 1 study [55]. VPA was favourably associated with muscular fitness and speed-agility in 1 study [55]. VERY LOWg
  1. LPA: light-intensity physical activity; MPA: moderate-intensity physical activity; MVPA: moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity; TPA: total physical activity; VPA: vigorous-intensity physical activity
  2. aIncludes 1 longitudinal study [43]
  3. bThe findings that were reported did not adjust for any potential confounders
  4. cQuality of evidence was downgraded from “low” to “very low” because of serious risk of bias
  5. dIncludes 2 cross-sectional studies [55, 117]
  6. eNo potential confounders were adjusted for; a convenience sample was used and it is unclear if the fitness measure is suitable for this age group in 1 study [117]. Potentially inappropriate statistical analysis: other movement behaviours were mutually adjusted for in the fully adjusted models in 1 study [55]
  7. fA gradient for higher TPA, MVPA, VPA with higher fitness was observed in 1 study [55]
  8. gQuality of evidence was downgraded from “low” to “very low” because of serious risk of bias; because of this limitation, was not upgraded for an exposure/outcome gradient