n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Body composition of children with disabilities in Tshilizni and Fulufhelo special schools, Vhembe District, South Africa

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


This study assessed the body mass index (BMI) and body fat percent of the children with disabilities in Tshilizni and Fulufhelo Special Schools, Vhembe District, South Africa. This was a cross-sectional study involving 199 children with disabilities at Tshilizni and Fulufhelo Special Schools aged 7-17 years. Measurements included stature, body mass and skinfolds (triceps and subscapular). BMI was calculated and body fat percent derived using Slaughter's equation. The mean age of the participants was 12.2 ± 2.6 years. There was no significant differences in stature (p = 0.205) between boys and girls, body mass. Girls had significantly higher values for skinfolds (triceps and subscapular) compared to their male counterparts (p = 0.000, p = ≤ 0.05). Girls had significantly higher mean values for BMI, percentage body fat, fat mass and Σ2SKF compared to boys (p = 0.000). Underweight occurred in 5% and 2% of boys and girls, respectively. The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity in the children was 3.5%, 10.6% and 5.0%, respectively. Among the boys, the prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity were 5.0%, 4.0% and 2.0%, respectively. Corresponding figures for the girls were 2.0%, 17.0% and 8.0%, respectively. There is relatively high prevalence of obesity and overweight among children with disabilities in Tshilizni Special School; and the body fat in the normal range. This stresses the need to objectively assess the level of adiposity in children using objective measures. Notwithstanding, this indirect indicator of adiposity used in this present study among children with disabilities provides a baseline data concerning body weight disorders in a non-researched special population of children in the setting.

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