|dc.description.abstract||Leptin is a protein hormone primarily secreted by the subcutaneous adipose tissue and is
responsible for regulating the energy balance. Individuals with more adipose tissue have
much higher leptin levels and often suffer from a condition known as leptin resistance.
Various factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, diet and physical activity influence the
body's leptin concentration. Males have lower leptin levels than females of the same age
and body fat content. Black people tend to have higher leptin concentrations than white
people because of a more subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution. Physical activity
serve as a main manipulator of the body's energy balance and influence leptin
concentration through various adaptations associated with a more favorable body
composition such as, an increase in lean tissue and a decrease in body fat.
The object of this study was firstly to investigate the association between body
composition - with special emphasis on adipose tissue and leptin concentration in black
adolescent boys and girls of the North-West Province of South Africa. Secondly, the
study aimed to determine the influence of physical fitness components and leptin
concentration in the same population.
In this study, 148 girls and 114 boys supplied overnight fasting blood samples.
Anthropometric data: length (m), weight (kg), skin folds (mm) and circumferences of the
waist (cm) and hip (cm) were measured. The percentage body fat were also measured in
the BOD-POD. Finally a battery of physical fitness tests were done which included: the
maximum number of sit-ups, push-ups and the bleep-test for indirect V&-max.
Spearman Rank Order correlations determined that there should be adjusted for age and
Tanner stage. Partial correlations were done with body composition variables, [BMI
(body mass index), SSF (sum of 6 skin folds), body fat percentage], and physical fitness
variables, bush-ups, sit-ups and indirect V02-max]. In both genders a strong positive
relationship occurred between all the above mentioned body composition variables and
leptin. In boys the strongest correlation (I= 0.8420) was found between SSF and leptin
levels. In girls the strongest correlation (r = 0.7489) was found between BMI and leptin
concentration. In both genders, body fat percentage indicated the lowest correlation,
although it was still significant.
In both genders the indirect V02-max values indicated a significant negative relationship
with serum leptin concentration, although it was weak, it was the highest in boys (r = -
0314). In girls the indirect V02-max values (r = -0.235) and the maximum amount of
push-ups (r = -0205) indicated significant, but weak correlations.
According to the results of this study it is clear that serum leptin concentration has a
strong positive relationship with body fat, more accurate, with the subcutaneous adipose
tissue. It was also indicated that baseline physical fitness in these black adolescents from
the selected school in Potchefstroom, North-west Province (South Africa) are statistically
significant negatively correlated with leptin levels, although it was not a strong