Research Study Abstract

What do students gain from the timed mile run component of the FITNESSGRAM?

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: The Mile Run/Walk test (MRW) is commonly used to assess students’ cardiovascular fitness as a component of the FITNESSGRAM. The formula to convert MRW times into predicted VO2max incorporates Body Mass Index (BMI). This study examines whether the MRW is an appropriate tool to employ among overweight youth, given that elevated health risk is already evident by BMI alone.

Methods: Students in a school-based physical activity study (N = 59; mean age = 11.05 +/- .34 years; 50% Hispanic; 50% Male) completed a MRW and a standardized test of cardiovascular fitness, and wore an Actigraph activity monitor for one week to assess moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA).

Results: The correlation between predicted VO2max (based on MRW and BMI) and measured VO2max (from the graded exercise test) was strong (r = .78, p < .001), but weaker than the correlation between BMI and measured VO2max (r = .87, p< .001). All students identified by the FITNESSGRAM as being in the “needs improvement” zone were at or above the 85th percentile for BMI. MVPA was associated with measured VO2max (r = .33, p < .01), but not with predicted VO2max.

Conclusions: The students in this study could have been identified as being at elevated health risk on the basis of BMI, without a need for subjecting them to the MRW. Students find this test aversive, and overweight children in particular may be stigmatized owing to their longer completion times. The MRW may be unnecessary, and could be psychologically damaging to overweight students.

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference