n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Physical fitness, nutritional habits and daily locomotive action of 12-year-old children with different body mass index : original research article




The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in physical fitness, daily nutritional habits and locomotive behaviour among pupils with varying body mass index (BMI) in the 5th and 6th grades of primary school.

The sample consisted of 480 pupils (229 boys and 251 girls), who participated in specific Eurofit tests and completed questionnaires probing their physical activity and nutritional habits. They were divided according to their BMI into normal, overweight or obese children.
18% and 8% of the pupils were categorised as overweight and obese, respectively.
From the data analysis (two-way ANOVA), with BMI and gender as independent variables, it was found that the obese and overweight pupils had lower performance in long jump, in 30-m speed and in 20-m shuttle run. They adopted sedentary daily habits, such as many hours of TV watching and unhealthly nutritional habits.
The results of this study support the need for intervention at school through physical education and health education lessons, to inform pupils about the health risks associated with limited physical activity and unhealthy nutritional habits. Another goal should be to motivate and create behaviours that are conducive to better lifestyle habits.


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