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Please click on the image for a clearer, larger view. Source: Bähr, F., Wöhrl, T., Teich, P., Puta, C., & Kliegl, R. (2024). Impact of Height-to-Mass Ratio on Physical Fitness of German Third-Grade Children,

Brandenburg cooperates with Thuringia

BeKiGeKi ("Bewegte Kinder = gesündere Kinder", "Active children = healthier children") is the Thuringian sister project of EMOTIKON (Brandenburg). Both projects annually assess the physical fitness of third graders using the same six fitness tests.

Researchers from both projects investigate the effects of social and regional differences (socio-economic status, child poverty, urban-rural differences), and the effects of the Covid pandemic on the physical fitness of children.

From 2009 to 2023 more than 250,000 children have participated in the EMOTIKON project. The test battery includes tests for the assessment of endurance, coordination, speed, muscle power of upper and lower limbs and balance.
Please click on the image for a clearer, larger view.

Physical fitness is a powerful marker of health in children and adolescents. Previous research has established positive associations between physical fitness, psychological and emotional traits, cognitive function (e.g., attentional capacity), and academic achievements (e.g., grade in mathematics) in youth. Furthermore, there is evidence indicating that low levels of physical fitness during childhood and adolescence are associated with an increased risk for overweight/obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

The negative effects of increased sedentariness, declines in physical fitness and concomitant increases in time spent with media intensified public, scientific and political discussions. Various professional organisations (e.g., Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, Germany; German Olympic Sports Confederation) recommended to continuously monitor and assess youth physical fitness. In accordance with these recommendations, the Federal State of Brandenburg decided to establish the project EMOTIKON which is a German acronym for the “Assessment of physical fitness in third-graders in the Federal State of Brandenburg to continuously evaluate physical education and promote physical activity and fitness”. EMOTIKON is a collaborative project between the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, Federal State of Brandenburg, the University of Potsdam, and the State Sports Association, Federal State of Brandenburg.

The primary purpose of EMOTIKON is to assess and evaluate physical fitness of all third-graders in a state-wide effort and to deduce recommendations for the promotion of physical activity and fitness. The test battery is easy to administer and  includes six different tests for the assessment of cardiorespiratory endurance (i.e., 6 min run test), coordination (i.e., star run test), speed (i.e., 20-m linear sprint test), balance (i.e., one legged balance test), a proxy of lower limbs muscle power (i.e., standing long jump test), and a proxy of upper limbs muscle power (i.e., ball push test). 

Publications from the EMOTIKON project:

Teich, P., Fühner, T., Bähr, F., Puta, C., Granacher, U., & Kliegl, R. (2023). Covid Pandemic Effects on the Physical Fitness of Primary School Children: Results of the German EMOTIKON Project. Sports Medicine-Open9(1), 77.

Teich, P., Fühner, T., Granacher, U., & Kliegl, R. (2023). Physical fitness of primary school children differs depending on their timing of school enrollment. Scientific Reports13(1), 8788.

Fühner, T., Granacher, U., Golle, K., & Kliegl, R. (2022). Effect of timing of school enrollment on physical fitness in third graders. Scientific Reports12(1), 1-11.

Fühner, T., Granacher, U., Golle, K., & Kliegl, R. (2021). Age and sex effects in physical fitness components of 108,295 third graders including 515 primary schools and 9 cohorts. Scientific Reports, 11, 17566.

Fühner, T., Kliegl, R., Arntz, F., Kriemler, S., & Granacher, U. (2021). An update on secular trends in physical fitness of children and adolescents from 1972 to 2015: a systematic review. Sports Medicine51(2), 303-320.

Golle, K., Muehlbauer, T., Wick, D., & Granacher, U. (2015). Physical Fitness Percentiles of German Children Aged 9-12 Years: Findings from a Longitudinal Study. PLoS One, 10(11), e0142393.

Golle, K., Granacher, U., Hoffmann, M., Wick, D., & Muehlbauer, T. (2014). Effect of living area and sports club participation on physical fitness in children: a 4 year longitudinal study. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 499.

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