|dc.description.abstract||Obesity is currently the most common and costly nutritional problem in
developed countries and ten percent of the world's school-aged children are
estimated to be overweight to some extent. Low-grade systemic inflammation
is increasingly emerging as a significant component of the metabolic
syndrome. Youth in lower income families are particularly vulnerable because
of poor diet and limited opportunities for physical activity. In developing
countries obesity among youth is rising among the urban poor, possibly due to
their exposure to Westernised diets coinciding with a history of under-nutrition.
The aim of this study was to assess the association between serum CRP and
physical activity and to assess the association between serum CRP and body
composition in black high-school children from a township in the North West
Province (NWP), South Africa.
Methods and results: The study group consisted of 193 school children
between the ages 13 to 18 years (78 boys and 115 girls) residing in lkageng,
the township outside of Potchefstroom in the North West Province, South
Africa. Children were from a black ethnic group, living in a poor socioeconomic
setting. Demographic and body composition measurements were
taken and fasting blood samples were drawn for serum C-reactive protein
(CRP) measurements. The difference between serum CRP of overfat versus
girls with a normal fat percentage was non-significant (p = 0.46). Boys with
body fat percentage >20% (n=16) had .a mean serum CRP of 1.42 2.16
mg/L and for boys with a normal fat percentage (n=53) mean serum CRP was
0.89 k 1.62 mg/L. The Mann-Whitney U-test for the difference between mean
CRP of the two groups of boys was Z=1.39, p=0.16 (no significant
difference), but with a trend of higher serum CRP concentration in the boys
with higher % body fat. For the boys, the only positive partial correlation was
between serum CRP and triceps skinfold (r=0.327, p=0.045). In the girls'
group no statistically significant partial correlations were found between CRP
and body composition variables. There was no significant difference between
serum CRP concentrations of the three physical activity categories of girls.
Interestingly, there was an inverse correlation between percentage body fat and fitness in the boys' group (r=-0.509 and p= 0.008). The difference in log
CRP between activity groups showed a trend of lower serum CRP with higher
physical activity in the girls.
Conclusion: This study showed no statistically significant associations
between serum CRP and body composition, except for the positive correlation
between triceps skin fold and serum CRP in boys, or CRP and physical
activity, but clear trends were noted of an inverse association between CRP
and physical activity in the girls.||