PREFIT: Assessing FITness in PREschoolers

Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (RYC-2011-09011).


Physical fitness, particularly cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength, are considered a powerful marker of health in children and adolescents. Based on this evidence, the assessment of physical fitness in youth is now considered highly relevant from a clinical and public health point of view. In this context, the European Commission developed ALPHA Project (Assessing Levels of Physical Activity and Fitness, with the aim to establish a battery of tests which are valid and reliable for the health-related fitness assessment in children and adolescents (6 to 18 years). However, such information is not available for younger children, particularly for preschool children aged 3 to 5 years. For this reason, we created the PREFIT project “Assessing fitness in PREschoolers”, which aim was to examine the feasibility and reliability of a physical fitness tests battery, as well as to provide national reference values of physical fitness and to examine sociodemographic and perinatal factors of preschool children. In order to address this overall aim, we developed a new investigation in three phases: 1) a systematic review of the literature focused on which where the most reliable, valid and related to heath fitness tests used in preschoolers; 2) methodological studies in the accuracy and reliability of the measures in this age group; and 3) a multicentre assessment of the fitness level, using the PREFIT fitness test battery (developed from phase 1 and 2), of more 3000 preschoolers of 11 different cities from Spain: Granada, Jaén, Almería y Cádiz (south); Cuenca y Madrid (centre); Castellón de la Plana y Mallorca (east); Zaragoza y Vitoria (north) and Gran Canaria. This project provides for first time an evidence-based fitness test battery (PREFIT) that will allow assessment of fitness in preschoolers and also will initiate a new research line and increase in the knowledge about the relevance of physical fitness in very young people for future health.


Data collection finished. We are currently analysing the data and publishing the results.


The study is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (RYC-2011-09011).


  • 1.) Ortega FB, Cadenas-Sánchez C, Sánchez-Delgado G, Mora-González J, Martínez-Téllez B, García-Artero E, Castro-Piñero J, Labayen I, Chillón P, Löf M, Ruiz JR. Systematic review and proposal of a field-based physical fitness-test battery in preschool children: The PREFIT battery. Sports Medicine. 2015; 45(4):533-55. Pubmed
  • 2.) Cadenas-Sánchez C, Alcántara-Moral F, Sánchez-Delgado G, Mora-González J, Martínez-Téllez B, Herrador-Colmenero M, Jiménez-Pavón D, Femia P, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB. Assessment of cardiorespiratory fitness in preschool children: adaptation of the 20 metres shuttle run test. Nutrición Hospitalaria. 2014; 30(6). Pubmed
  • 3.) Sánchez-Delgado G, Cadenas-Sánchez C, Mora-González J, Martínez-Téllez B, Chillón P, Löf M, Ortega FB, Ruiz JR. Assessment of handgrip strength in preschool children aged 3-5 years. Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume). 2015; Jul 3. Pubmed
  • 4.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Nyström CD, Sanchez-Delgado G, Martinez-Tellez B, Mora-Gonzalez J, Risinger AS, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB, Löf M. Prevalence of overweight/obesity and fitness level in preschool children from the north compared with the south of Europe – an exploration with two countries. Pediatr Obes. 2015 Nov 9. Pubmed
  • 5.) Martinez-Tellez B, Sanchez-Delgado G, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Mora-Gonzalez J, Martin-Matillas M, Löf M, Ortega FB, Ruiz JR. Health-related physical fitness is associated with total and central body fat in preschool children aged 3 to 5 years. Pediatr Obes. 2015 Dec 18. Pubmed
  • 6.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Martínez-Téllez B, Sanchez-Delgado G, Mora-Gonzalez J, Castro-Piñero J, Löf M, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB. Assessing physical fitness in preschool children: Feasibility, reliability and practical recommendations for the PREFIT battery. J Sci Med Sport. 2016 Pubmed
  • 7.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Sanchez-Delgado G, Martinez-Tellez B, Mora-Gonzalez J, Löf M España-Romero V, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB. Reliability and validity of different models of the TKK hand-dynamometers. Am J Occup Ther. 2016. Jul-Aug; 70(4):7004300010p1-9. Pubmed
  • 8.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Ortega FB. Estudio PREFIT-España: Evaluación del Fitness en Preescolares. See link
  • 9.) Mora-Gonzalez J, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Martinez-Tellez B, Sanchez-Delgado G, Ruiz JR, Léger L, Ortega FB. Estimating VO2max in children aged 5-6 years through the preschool-adapted 20-m shuttle-run test (PREFIT). Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017. Nov; 117(11): 2295-2307. Pubmed
  • 10.) Labayen I, Arenaza L, Medrano M, García N, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Ortega FB. Associations between the adherence to the Mediterranean diet and cardiorespiratory fitness with total and central obesity in preschool children: the PREFIT project. Eur J Nutr. 2017. Nov 10. Pubmed
  • 11.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Intemann T, Labayen I, Peinado AB, Vidal-Conti J, Sanchis-Moysi J, Moliner-Urdiales D, Rodriguez Perez MA, Cañete Garcia-Prieto J, Fernández-Santos JDR, Martinez-Tellez B, Vicente-Rodríguez G, Löf M, Ruiz JR, Ortega FB. Physical fitness reference standards for preschool children: The PREFIT project. J Sci Med Sport. 2018. Sep 20. pii: S1440-2440(18)30911-3 Pubmed
  • 12.) Merino-De Haro I, Mora-Gonzalez J, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Borras PA, Benito PJ, Chiva-Bartoll O, Torrijos-Niño C, Samaniego-Sánchez C, Quesada-Granados JJ, Sánchez-Delgado A, Dorado-García C, García-Martínez JM, Vicente-Rodríguez G, Labayen I, Ortega FB. Higher socioeconomic status is related to healthier levels of fatness and fitness already at 3 to 5 years of age: The PREFITproject. J Sports Sci. 2018 Dec 27:1-11. Pubmed
  • 13.) Cadenas-Sanchez C, Intemann T, Labayen I, Artero EG, Alvarez-Bueno C, Sanchís-Moysi J, Benito PJ, Beltran-Valls MR, Pérez-Bey A, Sanchez-Delgado G, Palou P, Vicente-Rodríguez G, Moreno LA, Ortega FB. Prevalence of severe/morbid obesity and other weight status and anthropometric reference standards in Spanish preschool children: The PREFIT project. Pediatr Res. 2019 Feb 18 Pubmed

Web financiada por la Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Conocimiento, Investigación y Universidades, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), proyecto SOMM17/6107/UG

Web financiada por la Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Conocimiento, Investigación y Universidades, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), proyecto SOMM17/6107/UGR