Maturation, body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in children and adolescents in the metropolitan area of Porto, Portugal

OBJECTIVES: to determine in Portuguese students (n = 256 boys and n = 268 girls) between eight and 16 years old: the patterns of changes in body composition and VO2max related to the maturation process; the relationship between fat mass percentage (%FM), body mass index (BMI), the sum of skin folds (SSKF) and VO2max; the percentage of obese students. METHODS: body fatness was estimated from SSKF (subscapular and tricipital), and the distribution pattern obtained from the ratio between subscapular and tricipital skin fold thickness. Children were subdivided into maturation stages according to Tanner's staging for sexual maturity. VO2max was assessed by maximal multistage 20-meters Shuttle-run Test. RESULTS: anthropometric variables and fat mass percentage were consistent with earlier published studies. Boys presented significantly higher values (p < 0,05) to VO2max than girls in most stages. Negative, moderate and significant correlation (p < 0,05) were obtained between fat mass percentage and VO2max for both sexes in all maturation stages. Analysis of the three obesity indicators (BMI, FM percentage e SSKF), 11,2% of the boys and 14,3% of the girls demonstrated values higher than the normative data. CONCLUSIONS: normal growth standards were verified for both sexes. Children with lower VO2max had a higher percentage of fat mass. Both sexes presented values suggestive of excessive body fat in the beginning of adolescence.

Obesity; Body composition; Nutrition assessment; Adolescence

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