Physical fitness of children is low: a chronic secular decline in fitness was followed by a recent acute decline with COVID-19 restrictions. Fitness is vital to current and future physical and mental health of children. We have good systems for monitoring child public health in Scotland (e.g. Scottish Health Surveys), but fitness measurement is not included in these.
In several European countries programmes have been developed to monitor fitness (FitBack Europe), inspiring policy and practice efforts to reverse the decline in child fitness. This programme will use the Fitback framework to develop a child fitness monitoring system suitable for Scotland.
With complementary expertise in Child Public Health; Physical Literacy, Physical Fitness and Physical Education; and Data Management, the team collaborates with academic partners from Finland, and key stakeholders from policy (Public Health Scotland, Youth Sport Trust) and practice (Scottish Association for PE, SATPE).
Starting from a version of Fitback for Scotland co-designed by the team, the programme will demonstrate that Fitback Scotland is feasible, identify any refinements required, and create Fitback Scotland training materials for teachers and other stakeholders. It will then engage stakeholders in a discussion of why and how to scale up Fitback. This will lead to future national fitness monitoring, and public health action informed by that monitoring.