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Use of Self-Assessed Fitness and Exercise Parameters to Predict Objective Fitness


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p 827-831
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000162618.69807.0E
Applied Sciences: Psychobiology and Behavioral Strategies

Purpose: The purpose of this prospective study was to examine the effectiveness of self-assessed fitness and exercise in predicting objectively measured physical fitness.

Methods: Study subjects included 1583 men who entered Marine Corps training in San Diego, CA, between September and November 2002 and completed a questionnaire and an objective fitness test. The questionnaire included demographic and self-assessed fitness/exercise items, and was administered immediately upon entry into the training program. The objective fitness measure was obtained using a standardized test after approximately 1 month of training.

Results: Multivariate modeling found that several measures of self-assessed fitness and exercise (estimated number of pull-ups; good, very good, or excellent self-assessed fitness; sweating quite a lot or most or all of the time during physical activity; and competitive experience) were all associated with the objective fitness score. These results remained statistically significant after controlling for age, race, and body mass index (model adjusted R2 = 0.469, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: In this analysis, self-assessed fitness and exercise parameters that can be easily ascertained with a short questionnaire predicted objective fitness scores approximately 1 month later. This information could be used by recruiters to make recommendations for preenlistment conditioning.

1Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA; 2Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and 3Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA; and 4Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Address for correspondence: Dr. Donna Riley, Cuyamaca College, Department of Exercise Science and Health Education, 900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy., El Cajon, CA 92019; E-mail:

Submitted for publication July 2004.

Accepted for publication January 2005.

The views expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

This research has been conducted in compliance with all applicable federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research.

This research was supported by the Naval Health Research Center under work unit number 60213, funded by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery under document number NC 2275 N0001802WR20006.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine