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From The CriticsReviewer: Douglas Moodie, MD (Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This well organized book provides a glimpse into the fitness levels of children from around the world.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide data on the fitness levels of children from around the world using the most current analysis on their aerobic fitness. This is certainly a worthy objective given the epidemic of obesity throughout the world, particularly in North America, Europe, and the Far East. The book meets the author's objectives of providing an excellent global view of the issue of aerobic fitness in children.
Audience: This would be of interest to public health administrators and professionals who are involved in providing health services for children. It would also be interesting to pediatricians, family practitioners, sports medicine physicians, trainers, school health officials, and nurses who are involved in children's exercise management and children's exercise program development.
Features: The book is well organized. The first chapters deal with the definition of aerobic fitness. These are followed by a review of children's fitness by location including North America, Europe, the Baltic States, Asia, and Australia including data from over 25 million children around the world. The last four chapters deal with the causes and the etiology of poor fitness levels, defining why fitness levels have declined around the world over the last 10-15 years. Particularly interesting is the fact that absolute peak VO2 levels (a measure of lung capacity and aerobic fitness) in boys were the highest in the 1960s through the 1970s and then declined during the 1980s. The superior fitness of Northern and Central European children has been a recurrent theme in studies since the 1960s. Significant decreases in fitness levels are noted in the Asian and Australian populations over the last two decades.
Assessment: This is an important and interesting book with a huge international database. With its detailed information on fitness levels in children from around the world, it should be an important addition to the library of anyone dealing with children and exercise issues.