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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2011 August;63(4):263-70

language: English

Body composition of South African rural school children aged 7-13 years: the Tshannda longitudinal study

Amusa L. O. 1, Goon D. T. 1, Amey A. K. 2

1 Center for Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa;
2 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa


AIM:The aim of this paper was, therefore, to present the cross-sectional data on the body composition profiles of rural primary school children in Tshannda, South Africa.
METHODS:A cross-sectional study was carried out to examine the body composition among 409 Tshannda rural school children, grade 1-7 levels, in Vhembe district of Limpopo province, South Africa. The anthropometric variable measured included, body mass, stature, arm circumference, triceps, biceps, subscapular and supraspinale. Derived indicators were sum of skinfold thickness, body mass index (BMI), mid-upper arm circumference, percentage body fat, fat mass and fat-free mass, which were used to determine body composition.
RESULTS: A significant difference in the sum of skinfold thickness was noticed between boys and girls. The girls have higher skinfold thickness than boys at all ages. The percentage of body fat was higher in girls than boys.
CONCLUSION:The high proportion of body fat among rural South African school children, especially girls, warrants an action strategy to prevent and control overweight and obesity in this age group.

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