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Most of the time when we think about diet, lifestyle, exercise, and obesity, we think about body weight and weight loss. While these factors are an important component of being physically fit, we often don't give as much thought to how physically fit we are as a population.
A new obesity and wellness research study (free to download) was conducted to determine if the physical fitness of college students changed over time and, if so, how those changes effected measures of obesity like body mass index (BMI) and body fat. Nutrition researchers analyzed the results of MicroFit tests from over 5,000 students attending a private Seventh-Day Adventist college where each student enrolled in a physical activity class was required to take the MicroFit test. Information collected on body weight, body fat, muscle strength, aerobic fitness and more from 1996 to 2008 was analyzed. Fitness was measured by estimating VO2max, which is a measure of the maximum oxygen uptake during a graded exercise and is considered to be one of the most accurate measures of physical fitness.
The results of this data analysis showed that:
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