Physical fitness and its association with overweight among early adolescents in Puducherry, Southern India

Dagani Jeevitha 1 , Jeby Jose Olickal 2 , Revathi Ulaganeethi 2 , Aakanksha Singh 2 , Ronur Srikantasastri Ramesh 1 , and Palanivel Chinnakali 2
  • 1 College of Nursing, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
  • 2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
Dagani Jeevitha
  • College of Nursing, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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, Jeby Jose Olickal
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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, Revathi Ulaganeethi
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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, Aakanksha Singh
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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, Ronur Srikantasastri Ramesh
  • College of Nursing, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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and Palanivel Chinnakali
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medicine and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India
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Abstract

Objectives

Physical fitness is an important indicator of health and longevity. This can reduce morbidity and mortality of Non-communicable diseases. We aimed to assess the physical fitness among early adolescents and its association with age, gender and obesity.

Methods

We conducted a cross sectional analytical study in a public school in Puducherry, south India among early adolescents (aged 10–14 years). We assessed the physical fitness components like body composition (body mass index, waist circumference), muscular strength and endurance (hand grip test, curl up test), flexibility (sit and reach test, shoulder stretch test), agility (shuttle run test) and cardio respiratory and endurance (600-yard run test).

Results

A total of 263 children were included; 141 (54%) were girls. 30 children (11%) were thin and 57 (22%) were either obese or overweight. Overall, median (IQR) right- and left-hand grip strength was 10 (6–14) and 13 (7–18) unit of kg respectively. Median (IQR) curl-ups performed in a minute were 14 (10–20). About 13% of children failed to perform left shoulder stretch. Children aged 12–14 years had higher median (IQR) right hand grip strength [14.5 (12–22) unit of kg] compared to children aged 10 and 11 years [6 (4–12) unit of kg] and this difference was statistically significant (p<0.001). The performance was similar in all tests between boys and girls except for left hand grip strength; boys had higher grip strength compared to girls (p=0.02). In girls, children who belonged to thinner BMI category performed better than obese children in shuttle run test (p=0.03).

Conclusion

There was a significant difference in physical fitness based on age except in left and right shoulder stretch test. Since the prevalence of overweight/obesity was high in adolescents, creating awareness and enabling environment related to the physical fitness is important.

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