n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Growth and physical fitness of socially disadvantaged boys and girls aged 8 - 17 years living in the Western Cape, South Africa - : growth and development

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The growth and physical fitness of socially disadvantaged children living in the Western Cape, South Africa was researched. 720 children were randomly selected from a township in Cape Town, South Africa, which consisted of low cost and informal houses. Anthropometric measures were obtained according to the standard procedures of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). The fitness components included were flexibility (sit-and-reach test), grip strength (hand grip dynamometer), leg power (standing long jump), speed (50m-sprint test), and cardiovascular endurance 3-minute step test. The results of this study revealed the impaired growth of children as reflected in the comparisons of their anthropometric measurements with reference data. Girls were found to be heavier than boys mainly due to higher levels of absolute and relative fat. Differences in body composition were accentuated after the onset of puberty. Performance spurts in fitness qualities of boys after the age of 14 years resulted in gender differences, which persisted up to the age of 17 years. The fitness levels of children, especially in strength and power categories were found to be low when compared to Dutch fitness standards.

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