pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

Showing posts from: Wellness

Children’s Fitness: The Bleep Test

Assessing Children’s Health and Fitness
The “bleep” test, the “beep” test, the “Multistage Fitness Test” (MSFT)

The test had its beginnings in Britain to quantify the fitness level of children and sports team participants. Its popularity has grown world-wide and it is now used by major league teams as a requirement of participation, not to mention military units, the FBI, schools and other venues where fitness is a job requirement. Many other “clones” of the test have been developed (such as the yo-yo test) but all of them are pretty much the same measurement of the body’s ability to utilize oxygen and get it to its cells.

For those of you who wish to have a copy of the test to use in your family, an MP3 file is downloadable below.

Setup of the bleep test

The “game” or “exercise” is easy to set up and just as easy to perform (except for the running part) but it does need some explanation to those you want to administer it to. The tape uses “beeps” to time the exercise. You start the tape and don’t stop it until the last person taking the test has dropped out. Ostensibly to the highest level it takes just over 20 minutes; but no one has been verified as completing it even though several have claimed to do so. Most fit individuals reach their maximum around 10 minutes, only professional level athletes make it above level 12 or so (there are 21).

Give the instructions, start the tape, wait for the first set of three beeps and runners begin at a pace “just fast enough” to arrive at the cone where they wait until the next beep sounds and they start back. They run back and forth at the same pace waiting at the end for the next beep until another series of three beeps indicate the “next level” and the pace picks up. So, it’s back and forth to the time of single beeps until three beeps announces the next level of faster pace.

The “players” continue until maximal effort is reached with encouragement from the onlookers. The idea is to keep going until they have been “late for the beep” two times in a row and their score becomes the last level that they reached on time. Everyone in the family will be different and playing the game will improve both the score and fitness. Here is a video of a college professor teaching students how to administer the test.


So, what to expect at the various ages for “fitness?” Barring preclusive physical impairments here are the charts for boys and girls 9 through 17. Children younger than nine can run to the beeps but really shouldn’t do so under pressure. Developing a love for how their bodies feel when they’re fit and active should be the FIRST agenda. Nine is early enough to begin the challenge of competing with one’s self for improvement as the SECOND agenda. Physical competition against others should be left for sometime AFTER 12 as the THIRD agenda.



Percentile < 5 5-20 20-40 40-60 60-80 80-95 >95
Age very poor poor fair average good very good excellent
9 < 2/2 2/2-3/4 3/5-4/4 4/5-5/4 5/5-6/4 6/5-7/7 > 7/7
10 < 2/2 2/2-3/5 3/6-4/5 4/6-5/5 5/6-6/6 6/7-8/1 > 8/1
11 < 2/2 2/2-3/6 3/7-4/7 4/8-5/8 5/9-6/10 7/1-8/6 > 8/6
12 < 2/2 2/2-3/8 4/1-5/1 5/2-6/4 6/5-7/6 7/7-9/3 > 9/3
13 < 2/4 2/4-4/2 4/3-5/6 5/7-6/9 6/10-8/3 8/4-10/1 > 10/1
14 < 2/6 2/6-4/5 4/6-6/1 6/2-7/4 7/5-8/9 8/10-10/9 > 10/9
15 < 2/7 2/7-4/7 4/8-6/3 6/4-7/7 7/8-9/2 9/3-11/3 > 11/3
16 < 2/8 2/8-4/9 5/1-6/6 6/7-7/10 8/1-9/6 9/7-11/8 > 11/8
17 < 3/1 3/1-5/2 5/3-6/8 6/9-8/3 8/4-9/9 9/10-12/1 > 12/1


Percentile < 5 5-20 20-40 40-60 60-80 80-95 >95
Age very poor poor fair average good very good excellent
9 < 2/2 2/2-3/1 3/2-3/8 4/1-4/6 4/7-5/4 5/5- 6/6 > 6/6
10 < 1/7 1/7-3/1 3/2- 3/8 4/1-4/7 4/8-5/6 5/7- 6/8 > 6/8
11 < 1/6 1/6-2/8 3/1- 3/8 4/1-4/8 4/9-5/8 5/9-7/1 > 7/1
12 < 1/5 1/5-2/8 3/1-4/1 4/2-4/9 5/1-5/9 6/1-7/3 > 7/3
13 < 1/5 1/5-3/1 3/2-4/1 4/2-5/1 5/2-6/1 6/2- 7/5 > 7/5
14 < 1/5 1/5-3/1 3/2-4/1 4/2-5/1 5/2-6/2 6/3- 7/6 > 7/6
15 < 1/5 1/5-3/12 3/2-4/2 4/3-5/2 5/3-6/3 6/4-7/7 > 7/7
16 < 1/5 1/5-3/1 3/2- 4/2 4/3-5/2 5/3-6/3 6/4-7/8 > 7/8
17 < 1/5 1/5-3/1 3/2-4/2 4/3-5/3 5/4-6/4 6/5- 7/9 > 7/9

Finally, if you’re still with me, here is a summary chart of the entire test levels and shuttles on each level. It shows the relative speed the child is running (km/h) at each level as well as times and distances.


Bleep test summary information


Children’s Health: Less Healthy Than 50 Years Ago

Your grandparents and great-grandparents are always the shortest ones in all your family photos, right? It’s the same with all of us.

Your kids are taller, better fed and wealthier than your grandparents; so, why are today’s children LESS healthy than 50 years ago? Children’s health has actually gotten worse!
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Reasons Why Parents Choose Not To Immunize Their Children

Here we are, in our discussion about immunization, at the ten reasons parents don’t immunize their children as described by a colleague, Greg Barrett at Ohio State University School of Medicine.

He did something that very few pediatricians these days are willing to do: immerse himself in the wasteful false rhetoric in order to understand the dilemma the patients he cared about were in. This article is for those who are truly looking for answers (Vaccine-haters, this is not for you).
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Immunization v. Vaccination: A Story of Gullibility, Fear, Despicable Avarice and Scams – Part 2

We’re (by that I mean I and I’m dragging you along with me) trying to make sense of and understand this mess we’re in about immunization; and I’m telling you of how a colleague decided to deliberately immerse himself in the vaccine-hater cottage industry to try and understand how otherwise seemingly rational parents make decisions which are clearly not in the best interest of their children.
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Immunization v. Vaccination: A Story of Gullibility, Fear, Despicable Avarice and Scams

If you’re like me, all this hysteria about immunizations is a bit hard to comprehend let alone understand. My very early memories concerning health were about friends and classmates becoming crippled and dying of polio and mumps and measles and whooping cough!

I remember taking cans around to collect “pennies by the inch” and news stories about children all over the nation sending dimes to the president and the “children’s March of Dimes.” Why were we so fearful, so troubled, so united, so focused? Were we all stupid? Deluded? Conned? Was it all a myth?
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Yoga For Children and Stress Reduction

One of several “most interesting” aspects of medical school for my graduating class was had in the psychiatry department when they taught us the science behind and techniques for hypnosis; or, as I’ve heard others refer to it: selective relaxation or meditation. This article is not about yoga per-se but about its usefulness in aiding meditation or relaxation.

I’ve been asked about and used clinical hypnosis (markedly different than “stage hypnosis”) on a few selective patients with uniformly favorable results; I’ve taught a whole lot more patients the techniques of selective relaxation.
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Meditation For Kids and Time-Outs

I had a friend post an article on his blog about how to cope with tinnitus. He’s not a medical person but has intimate knowledge of the problem from the standpoint of what actually works and he discussed how meditation helps him.

I communicated with him a little about it and told him that I’d been working on a post about meditation for this blog for about two years. Actually, it’s been sitting in the “possibles” pen for that long, awaiting for a bump into production.
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Safe Sleep For Infants: SIDS & SUIDs

The slogan “Back to Sleep” which revolutionized infant sleep methods has been changed to “Safe To Sleep” to broaden its scope and bring other causes of sleep-related infant death “into the fold” for research. Perhaps you already knew that, the slogan has been registered as a trademark of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
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Puberty: Psychological Stages

I’m sure that Dr. James Tanner didn’t have any idea what would come of it when he took the post that was being offered him by the British Government to continue the Harpenden Orphanage research study in 1948.
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Body Odor

Puberty changes everything for a child and body odors are one of them. A day’s activity for a 6 year old still may enable them to skip a night in the tub now and then; an adolescent… not so much.

Hormonal changes alter the content of perspiration in addition to making it more copious – a breeding ground for the bacteria causing odors. Simple things like bathing every night and wearing only cotton underwear as opposed to silk or synthetics may be all that’s needed for them to skip taunts by their “friends.”

Puberty: Tanner Stages – Boys

Boys and puberty – what a topic. We’re told that only two people in the history of planet earth got to skip puberty so it’s obviously a phenomenon afflicting earth children since … forever.

We’re still trying to figure it out but the task was made much easier around 1948 when Dr. James M. Tanner, a British pediatric endocrinologist trained in the U.S., was asked to Read more→

Puberty: Tanner Stages – Girls

The original study of childhood growth and maturity done by Dr. Tanner at the Harpenden orphanage in England during WWII has been replicated and verified many times since then.
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