The Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine
Online ISSN : 2186-8123
Print ISSN : 2186-8131
ISSN-L : 2186-8131
Short Review Article
Impact of fitness in college on mental health and social success in later life: UTokyo Fitness Study
Hiroyuki Sasai
ジャーナル オープンアクセス

2022 年 11 巻 3 号 p. 183-187


There is broad consensus that maintaining good physical fitness in youth promotes healthy growth, alleviates health risks, and serves as a foundation for academic and social success later in life. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support this claim. The UTokyo Fitness Study (UTFS) was launched to examine the relationship of college-age physical fitness with future health and social activity. This short review provides an overview of the UTFS and its preliminary findings. The University of Tokyo has been assessing physical fitness as part of their physical education courses in April, immediately after admission, for all 2000–3000 first-year students from 1961 to the present. The UTFS includes records of four fitness tests (i.e., vertical jump, repeated side steps, push-ups, and step test) for students enrolled from 1961 to 2015. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted from September to November 2018. Findings on the association of physical fitness with mental health and social success (assessed by the highest gross annual income) are presented. Better vertical jump and push-up scores were significantly associated with a lower risk of physician-diagnosed mental illness and greater odds of being in the top 10% for the highest gross annual income. Maintaining good physical fitness, especially muscle strength, power, and endurance, from college age can help to improve mental health and social success later in life. These findings empirically reiterate the importance of physical education courses in compulsory education, high school, college, club activities, sports clubs, and other activities aimed at improving physical fitness.

© 2022 The Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine

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