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March 13, 1948

PHYSICAL FITNESS: Report of the Subcommittee of the Baruch Committee on Physical Medicine

Author Affiliations

Chairman; New York; Boston; New York

From College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University (Dr. Darling), New York University College of Medicine (Dr. Eichna), Department of Hygiene and the Grant Study, Harvard University (Dr. Heath), and Cornell University College of Medicine (Dr Wolff).

JAMA. 1948;136(11):764-767. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.72890280001008

A clear definition of the term physical fitness is elusive. Physical fitness in the broader sense with which the physician is concerned has no meaning unless qualified "for what." The purely physical requirements of various tasks, whether they be jobs or physical feats, are too varied to be determinable by any one set of criteria. Physical fitness should be discussed as a fundamental quality of a person which describes the satisfactory integration of his muscular, cardiovascular and nervous systems and could be evaluated separately by appropriate tests from the psychologic and emotional factors which modify his actions. This distinction between physical fitness, which is a simple physiologic attribute, and the more general fitness which is affected by the complexities of the personality and its environment is impractical and usually impossible with the knowledge and test methods available at present. Therefore, the term physical fitness as used in this report has