Physical fitness differences between rural and urban children from western Kenya

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Castillo, Eric R., Sang, Meshack K., Sigei, Timothy K., Dingwall, Heather L., Okutoyi, Paul, Ojiambo, Robert, Otarola-Castillo, Erik, Pitsiladis, Yannis and Lieberman, Daniel E. (2015) Physical fitness differences between rural and urban children from western Kenya American Journal of Human Biology, 28 (4). pp. 514-523. ISSN 1042-0533

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Abstract

Objectives.  To study the effects of urbanization on physical fitness (PF), we compare PF between urban and rural children from western Kenya. We hypothesize that active rural children are stronger, more flexible, and have greater endurance, and that PF differences are predictive of endurance running performance. Methods.  We recruited an age-matched, cross-sectional sample of participants (55 males, 60 females; 6–17 years) from schools near Eldoret, Kenya. PF and anthropometrics were assessed using the FITNESSGRAM®. General linear mixed models (GLMM) and path analyses tested for age, sex, and activity group differences in PF, as well as the effects of PF variables on mile run time.  Results.  On average, urban participants had greater body mass (36.8 ± 15.9 vs. 31.9 ± 10.9 kg) but were not taller than rural participants (1.4 ± 0.2 vs. 1.4 ± 0.2 cm). Greater urban body mass appears driven by higher body fat (28.2 ± 9.4 vs. 16.8 ± 4.4%), which increased with age in urban but not rural participants. GLMM analyses showed age effects on strength variables (P<0.05) and sex differences in hip flexibility, sit-ups, and mile run (P<0.05). There were few differences in PF between groups except rural participants had stronger back muscles (18.2 ± 4.5 vs. 14.18 ± 4.3 cm) and faster mile times (6.3 ± 0.7 vs. 7.9 ± 2.0 min). Body composition and abdominal strength were predictive of mile time (P < 0.06), but the path analysis revealed a network of interacting direct and indirect effects that influenced endurance performance.  Conclusions.  Although differences in endurance and body composition are marked between urban and rural groups, strength and flexibility are not always correlated with overall activity levels

Item Type: Journal article
Subjects: C000 Biological and Biomedical Sciences > C600 Sport and Exercise Science
L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology > L311 Sport and Leisure
C000 Biological and Biomedical Sciences > C400 Genetics
C000 Biological and Biomedical Sciences > C400 Genetics > C420 Human genetics
C000 Biological and Biomedical Sciences > C400 Genetics > C490 Genetics not elsewhere classified
B000 Health Professions > B100 Anatomy Physiology and Pathology > B120 Physiology
B000 Health Professions > B100 Anatomy Physiology and Pathology
B000 Health Professions > B100 Anatomy Physiology and Pathology > B190 Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology not elsewhere classified
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1002/ajhb.22822
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 03:02
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2016 08:17
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/15862

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