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The study aimed to investigate the relationship between physical activity, gross motor skills and adiposity in South African children of pre-school age.
High-income urban, and low-income urban and rural settings in South Africa.
Children (3–6 years old, n 268) were recruited from urban high-income (n 46), urban low-income (n 91) and rural low-income (n 122) settings. Height and weight were measured to calculate the main outcome variables: BMI and BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ). Height-for-age and weight-for-age Z-scores were also calculated. Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometers were used to objectively measure physical activity; the Test of Gross Motor Development (Version 2) was used to assess gross motor skills.
More children were overweight/obese and had a higher BAZ from urban low-income settings compared with urban high-income settings and rural low-income settings. Being less physically active was associated with thinness, but not overweight/obesity. Time spent in physical activity at moderate and vigorous intensities was positively associated with BMI and BAZ. Gross motor proficiency was not associated with adiposity in this sample.
The findings of this research highlight the need for obesity prevention particularly in urban low-income settings, as well as the need to take into consideration the complexity of the relationship between adiposity, physical activity and gross motor skills in South African pre-school children.
To investigate predictors of adolescent obesity in rural South Africa.
Cross-sectional study. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured using standard procedures. Overweight and obesity in adolescents aged 10–17 years were assessed using the International Obesity Taskforce cut-offs, while the WHO adult cut-offs were used for participants aged 18–20 years. Waist-to-height ratio of >0·5 defined central obesity in those at Tanner stages 3–5. Linear and logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate risk factors.
Agincourt sub-district, rural South Africa.
Participants (n 1848) were aged 10–20 years.
Combined overweight and obesity was higher in girls (15 %) than boys (4 %), as was central obesity (15 % and 2 %, respectively). With regard to overweight/obesity, fourfold higher odds were observed for girls and twofold higher odds were observed for participants from households with the highest socio-economic status (SES). The odds for overweight/obesity were 40 % lower if the household head had not completed secondary level education. For central obesity, the odds increased 10 % for each unit increase in age; girls had sevenfold higher odds v. boys; post-pubertal participants had threefold higher odds v. pubertal participants; those with older mothers aged 50+ years had twofold higher odds v. those whose mothers were aged 35–49 years; those in highest SES households had twofold higher odds v. those in lowest SES households.
In rural South Africa, adolescent females are most at risk of obesity which increases with age and appears to be associated with higher SES. To intervene effectively, it is essential to understand how household factors influence food choice, diet and exercise.
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