Review| Volume 21, ISSUE 4, P383-397, April 2018

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Systematic review of the relationship between 20m shuttle run performance and health indicators among children and youth

Published:August 08, 2017DOI:


      • 20mSRT performance is favourably associated with aspects of physiological, physical, psychosocial and cognitive health in children and youth.
      • The 20mSRT could be used as a holistic health indicator to help identify children and youth at risk of poor health.
      • 20mSRT performance could be used as a population health indicator to compare the health of children and youth worldwide.



      This systematic review aimed to summarize research that assessed the associations between 20 m shuttle run test (20mSRT) performance and indicators of physiological, psychosocial and cognitive health among school-aged children and youth.


      Systematic review.


      Five online databases were used to identify peer-reviewed studies published from 1980 to 2016. Studies were included if they matched these criteria: population (children and youth with a mean age of 5–17 years and/or in Grades 1–12), intervention/exposure (performance on the 20mSRT), and outcomes (health indicators: adiposity, cardiometabolic biomarkers, cognition, mental health, psychosocial health, self-esteem and physical self-perception, quality of life and wellbeing, bone health, musculoskeletal fitness, motor skill development, and injuries and/or harm). Narrative syntheses were applied to describe the results. A lack of homogeneity precluded a meta-analysis approach.


      Overall, 142 studies that determined an association between 20mSRT performance and a health indicator were identified, representing 319,311 children and youth from 32 countries. 20mSRT performance was favourably associated with indicators of adiposity, and some indicators of cardiometabolic, cognitive, and psychosocial health in boys and girls. Fewer studies examined the relationship between 20mSRT performance and measures of quality of life/wellbeing, mental health and motor skill development, and associations were generally inconsistent. The quality of the evidence ranged from very low to moderate across health indicators.

      Conclusion and Implications

      These findings support the use of the 20mSRT as a holistic indicator of population health in children and youth.


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