n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Relationship between physique, under nutrition, physical fitness and blood pressure of boys aged 6 to 14 years : Ellisras Longitudinal Growth and Health Study - : growth and development

Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between under nutrition, cardiovascular risk factors and physical fitness level of Ellisras rural boys aged 6 to 14 years. Furthermore, an assessment of under nutrition in this population could help to identify subjects with the highest risk of hypertension and waist to hip ratio above the 90th percentile. Height and weight were measured on 938 boys who were part of the ongoing Ellisras Longitudinal study according to the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry. Measures of height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height less than -2 calculated from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey III were used to classify the boys as stunting, wasting and normal. The EUROFIT test items were used to test the physical fitness (1600m, sit ups, shuttle run, standing long jump, throws) of 633 boys. Hypertension was defined as the occurrence of Blood pressure levels greater than or equal to the 95th percentile of height and sex adjusted reference levels.The mean SBP of the undernourished boys was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of the normal boys in the stunting and wasting categories. The mean ectomorphy ratings was significantly (p < 0.05) greater in the under-nourished group compared to the normal group through out the categories. There was an association between under-nutrition parameters, blood pressure, waist to hip ratio and waist girth while the association with fitness tests variables was low and insignificant for both the normal and under-nourished boys. Longitudinal studies should verify whether the changes in nutritional status will indicate the changes in cardiovascular risk factors during growth.

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