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Good nutrition improves teen physical fitness
Doctors said that recent studies have found adolescents getting poorer nutrition and scoring lower on physical fitness tests. In this study, researchers took blood samples from 1,089 volunteer boys and girls, aged 12.5 years to 17.5 years, to measure nutrient levels. Doctors then asked the volunteers to complete a standing long-jump to measure lower-body muscle strength, and a repeated 66-foot shuttle run to test heart and lung capacity.

For muscle fitness, boys were stronger as levels of iron, retinol, beta-carotene, and alpha-tocopherol vitamin E increased. For girls, muscle strength improved as levels of beta-carotene and vitamin D rose.

For heart and lung fitness, boys with higher levels of iron, retinol, and vitamin C had the greatest oxygen capacity, and girls with higher beta-carotene and vitamin D levels had the greatest capacity to consume oxygen.

Youth is an important time to form food and exercise habits, doctors said, and this study highlights the close link between good nutrition and physical fitness.
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