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).

Enjoyed this article?
Please consider becoming a supporter.

About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at