Study aim: Over the last two decades, the body fat mass has been increasing and the level of physical fitness has been decreasing in school-aged children. Due to the health-related concerns that have arisen regarding school-aged children, the Hungarian government introduced everyday physical education in 2012. Since girls are more disposed to higher body fat and low fitness levels, the aim of our study was to characterise the physique, body composition and aerobic capacity of 10 to 14-year-old girls three years after the introduction of the new curriculum with daily PE lessons.
Material and methods: All of the primary schools that were selected to participate in this study serve as partnership schools in the University of West Hungary’s teacher training programme (N = 8). The sample included only those upper primary school girls (10 to 14 years of age) who participated in the everyday physical education lesson (N = 543). Standard anthropometric techniques and a 20m shuttle run test were selected for the analysis.
Results: An important result of this study was the finding that differences in the body composition features were consistently significant among the age groups. However, there were no differences among the age groups in the results of the 20 m multi-stage fitness test, nor in the girls’ relative aerobic capacity.
Conclusions: It can be presumed that an unfavourable body composition and poor fitness occur primarily in the prepuberty years. Everyday physical education serves as a good opportunity for shaping the girls’ fitness level and body composition, and also for encouraging healthy active living.