The SLOfit Student programme is embedded within the primary and secondary school system for children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 years old.
SLOfit Students is a school-based fitness monitoring programme, whose primary aim is as an educational tool for the effective planning and implementation of physical education classes.
The SLOfit Students programme is supported by school legislation insofar as every school follows the national curricula, and is required to systematically evaluate their students' physical development. The programme encourages physical literacy education by providing quality physical education instruction throughout the academic term.
More specifically, the physical development of children and youth is monitored annually by measuring their somatic growth, (defined as: body height, weight and triceps skinfold thickness). Students’ nutritional status is assessed via body mass index (BMI), which is calculated from the student’s height and weight. Individuals can be divided into different classes of nutritional status: undernutrition, normal nutritional status, overweight and obesity. Triceps skinfold is an anthropometric indicator of peripheral fat distribution. Children with high BMI and thick skinfolds are advised they may be at greater risk for other health issues (e.g. diabetes).
Motor development is monitored through the evaluation of motor abilities. Some indicators of physical fitness include: aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, speed, explosive strength and body coordination. These indicators have considerable protective function, spanning a lowered risk of cardio-vascular disease and diabetes to avoiding injury by fast and coordinated response in the event of overcoming unexpected obstacles during movements and falls.
Motor abilities in primary and secondary school are measured with 8 different fitness tests: 20-second arm plate tapping, standing broad jump, polygon course backwards, 60-seconds sit-ups, stand and reach, bent arm hang, 60m dash and 600m run. Based on the results we can calculate a “Physical fitness index” of the individuals, which tells us their level of physical efficiency in relation to the population or other historical generations of children.
For a detailed description of the SLOfit Students test battery click this link.
SLOfit measurements are performed every year in April as part of the primary and secondary school curriculum. This allows researchers to compare individual outcomes of physical and motor development. These tasks have been carefully selected by taking into account their validity and reliability for school-aged children and youth.
With the help of the SLOfit data, students and their parents can monitor their physical and motor development directly, while at the same time, teachers and physicians can see the important fitness-based information and use it for planning or implementing health interventions for children who may experiencing motor or physical difficulties. Data can also be used to provide professional guidance when children show extraordinary motor abilities.
Feedback information on each child’s development is provided by personal reports which include the raw data of all the measurements performed, fitness norms specific to their age and gender, and health risk criteria. When combined with individual historical fitness data and comparison with peers, an evaluation of the child’s health risks is now possible.