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More Exercises Enhance Physical Fitness of Children

Date: 8th June 2018       By: Mr Calvin Cheung, Registered Dietitian

Physical fitness reflects one’s general ability to adapt to daily life, exercises and the environment. Many past studies have shown that having good physical fitness has a positive impact on the physical and mental health of children, so it is believed that being physically fit helps to reduce health problems and enhance physical performance of children.

In order to know the physical fitness level of children in HK, during November to December 2017, our centre conducted physical fitness assessment for 555 children aged 3 to 6 years who participated in a nutrition cohort study named SING project. The assessment involved 6 fitness tests including sit and reach, throwing tennis ball, standing long jump, walking on a balance beam, 10-meter shuttle run, and continuous jump with two feet. Performance in each test was converted into age and gender specific scores in accordance with the standards described in the National Physical Fitness Test Manual (for the preschool section), and the overall rating of physical fitness could be obtained by summing the scores of the six tests.




The preliminary results of this physical fitness assessment showed that children who spent more time on outdoor activities and those who participated in regular sports or training tended to perform better in individual test and scored higher in overall physical fitness level. Children with normal body weight performed generally better in continuous jump with two feet, walking on balance beam, and standing long jump than underweight or overweight children. When compared the overall rating of physical fitness with the Guangdong National Physical Fitness Monitoring results in 2016 among similar age of children, the percentage of children who achieved pass level or higher in Guangdong was 91.5%, which is higher than the 71% obtained by the SING study subjects, indicating that the overall physical fitness of Hong Kong children appeared to be relatively weaker. In order to promote the development of physical and mental health among children, we suggest that parents follow the recommendations of the Department of Health of HK and motivate children to exercise for at least 180 minutes every day through walking, cycling, throwing balls, running, etc. We also encourage parents to let their children go outdoor more often which can be easy way to improve their physical fitness.


The distribution of overall rating of physical fitness among 555 children from SING Project

Overall Rating

Number of Children

Percent out of 555

Level 1 (Outstanding)



Level 2 (Good



Level 3 (Pass)



Level 4 (Failed)




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