n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Sex differences in body fatness in Nigerian children - : growth and development

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Childhood and adolescent obesity tends to extend into adulthood and predisposes the individual to some chronic diseases in later life. Body composition is a good parameter for evaluating obesity and nutritional status of children. This study aimed to investigate differences in body fat of Nigerian school children in Makurdi, Nigeria. The study sample consisted of a cross-sectional study of 979 boys and 1036 girls who were aged 9-12 years. Anthropometric measures of stature, body mass, triceps, subscapular and medial calf skinfolds were assessed. Percentage body fat in girls ranged from 15.2-17.4%, which was consistently higher than that in boys, i.e. 10.3-11.9%. Generally, the girls had higher measures of adipose tissue (sum of skinfolds and percentage body fat) than boys. The Nigerian girls at all ages had higher percentage body fat compared to the boys, which indicates gender differences in the children's body fatness. The study provides a baseline assessment of body fatness in Nigerian children. Future studies on tracking of percentage body fat in relation to nutritional and fitness levels in Nigerian children are needed so that the children, parents and teachers can obtain reliable information about body composition and health related fitness.

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