Date of Conferral





Public Health


James E. Rohrer


This meta-analysis investigated the association of gender and socioeconomic position with cardiorespiratory fitness in adolescents. Public health professionals know the importance of physical activity level as a modifiable behavior; however, the literature has revealed that more research is needed on the association of sociodemographic variables like gender and socioeconomic position with cardiorespiratory fitness in adolescents. Using the physical fitness and health outcomes conceptual model as a guide, the overall effect sizes across studies were assessed as well as the moderators of study design, sample size, age, and country. A systematic review of literature identified a total of 18 peer-reviewed studies meeting inclusion criteria, which yielded a total of 41 unique effect sizes. Meta-analysis utilizing a random effects model indicated that gender and socioeconomic position are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and that age and country moderated these effects. The positive social change implication of this meta-analysis may provide evidence-based knowledge to public health officials, physical educators, and health educators who are considering changes in school health promotion policies and health promotion interventions geared toward different gender and socioeconomic groups. Long term results include increased physical activity, decreased clustered cardiovascular risk factors, and lowered all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality as adolescents track into adulthood.