|dc.description.abstract||The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity worldwide is viewed as a global epidemic (World Health Organization, 2010). It is associated with a variety of health problems as well as physical– (cardio–respiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and body composition), and motor proficiency (fine manual control, manual coordination, body coordination, and strength–and–agility) (Asayama et al., 2003:644; Okely et al., 2004:242; Tokmakidis et al., 2006:870). As far as the South African context is concerned, there is little research examining these relationships and the effect of physical intervention there upon, in nine– to 12–year old children.
The first and second objectives of this study were to determine whether obesity would influence the physical– and/or the motor proficiency of nine– to 12–year–old South African children. The third and fourth objectives of this study were to determine the effect of a multidisciplinary intervention on the physical– and the motor proficiency of nine– to 12–year–old obese children.
For objectives one and two, a cross–sectional study was performed on 280 children (128 boys and 152 girls), with an average age of 10.6 years (±1.05). Anthropometric–, physical– and motor measurements were obtained by the 'Fitnessgram' (Meredith & Welk, 1999) and the 'Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency–II' (Bruininks & Bruininks, 2005). Body mass index (BMI) cut–off points were used to classify the children as normal, overweight, or obese (Cole et al., 2000). The data was analysed with regard to the above–mentioned objectives with the Statistica computer program, by means of descriptive statistics, Spearman rank correlations, and variance analyses.
The results show that the physical fitness variables, cardio–respiratory endurance and muscular strength, particularly leg muscular strength, showed significant decreases with an increase in BMI. A progressive, but insignificant, decrease was found in muscular endurance with an increase in BMI, while flexibility showed the weakest relationship to BMI. The motor variables strength–and–agility weakened significantly with an increase in BMI, while fine manual control, manual coordination, and body coordination showed the weakest relationships to BMI. Variance analysis showed further significant relationships among BMI, cardio–respiratory endurance, muscular strength, and running speed–and–agility (p<0.05). It can be concluded that health–promoting physical fitness and the motor proficiency of young South African children are negatively influenced by obesity and intervention strategies are recommended to promote the quality of life of such children.
For objectives three and four, an availability random sample of 37 experimental subjects, with an average age of 11 years (±0.99) was taken, where 20 subjects (seven boys and 13 girls) took part in a multidisciplinary intervention programme, and 17 subjects (six boys and 11 girls) formed part of a control group. Body composition, physical–, and motor proficiency were analysed by the 'Fitnessgram' (Meredith & Welk, 1999) and the 'Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency–II' (Bruininks & Bruininks, 2005) during baseline measurements, on completion of the intervention programme, and after a follow–up period of three months. The results, which were analysed with a repeated–measures analysis, Bonferroni–post–hoc analysis, and dependent and independent t–tests, show that the intervention programme brought about a significant change in all the body composition variables, excluding body height. Flexibility, muscular strength, and abdominal muscular endurance, as well as one of the four fine manual control test items (folding paper), two of the 12 body coordination test items (tapping feet and fingers - opposite sides synchronised, and standing on one leg on a line - eyes closed), and six of the seven strength and agility test items (shuttle run, stepping sideways over a balance beam, one–legged stationary hops, one–legged side hops, two–legged side hops, and sit–ups), showed significant differences from the control group on completion of the intervention programme. The results indicate that the intervention brought about differences in body composition and physical– and motor proficiency and also showed a sustainable effect over a period of three months on body fat percentage, subscapular skinfold and leg muscular strength. From this, it can be deduced that young obese children need sustained guidance to be able to maintain the lifestyle adaptations that are required by obesity interventions.
It can be concluded that the physical– and motor proficiency of children is negatively influenced by obesity, that a multidisciplinary intervention programme improves the body composition profile of obese children and has a positive effect on the physical– and the motor proficiency of obese nine– to 12–year old South African children, although the effect is not sustainable without ongoing, controlled intervention.||en_US