Estonian kids are third fittest in the world

According to a research by a team from a Canadian hospital and an American university, Estonian children and youths are third fittest in the world, or at least among the 50 countries that were included in the study.

An international research team, co-led from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the University of North Dakota, studied the aerobic fitness levels of children and youths across 50 countries.

According to the study, the fittest children live in Tanzania, a country in Eastern Africa. Iceland came second and somewhat surprisingly, Estonia scored third. Norway placed fourth and Japan fifth.

The study involved analysing 20-metre shuttle data, also called the beep test, from 1.1 million kids aged 9-17 years old from 50 countries. The beep test is the most popular field-based test of aerobic fitness levels of children and youth. It is also standardised and commonly used around the world.

Justin Lang of CHEO, the lead author of the study, said that kids who were aerobically fit tended to be healthy, and healthy children were apt to be healthy adults.

The children in America placed 47th, followed by Estonia’s southern neighbour, Latvia. The least fit children, however, live in Mexico.


Cover: an Estonian child in a wild nature. Photo by Cristi Sikora (courtesy of VisitEstonia).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at