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Open AccessArticle

Effect of a Multidimensional Physical Activity Intervention on Body Mass Index, Skinfolds and Fitness in South African Children: Results from a Cluster-Randomised Controlled Trial

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Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
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University of Basel, P.O. Box, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland
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Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Birsstrasse 320 B, CH-4052 Basel, Switzerland
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Department of Human Movement Science, South Campus, P.O. Box 77000, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
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Institute of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, 144 Moulmein Road, Singapore 308089, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(2), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020232
Received: 25 November 2018 / Revised: 23 December 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Community Child Health)
Obesity-related conditions impose a considerable and growing burden on low- and middle-income countries, including South Africa. We aimed to assess the effect of twice a 10-week multidimensional, school-based physical activity intervention on children’s health in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A cluster-randomised controlled trial was implemented from February 2015 to May 2016 in grade 4 classes in eight disadvantaged primary schools. Interventions consisted of physical education lessons, moving-to-music classes, in-class activity breaks and school infrastructure enhancement to promote physical activity. Primary outcomes included cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index (BMI) and skinfold thickness. Explanatory variables were socioeconomic status, self-reported physical activity, stunting, anaemia and parasite infections. Complete data were available from 746 children. A significantly lower increase in the mean BMI Z-score (estimate of difference in mean change: −0.17; 95% confidence interval (CI): −0.24 to −0.09; p < 0.001) and reduced increase in the mean skinfold thickness (difference in mean change: −1.06; 95% CI: −1.83 to −0.29; p = 0.007) was observed in intervention schools. No significant group difference occurred in the mean change of cardiorespiratory fitness (p > 0.05). These findings show that a multidimensional, school-based physical activity intervention can reduce the increase in specific cardiovascular risk factors. However, a longer and more intensive intervention might be necessary to improve cardiorespiratory fitness. View Full-Text
Keywords: body mass index; cardiorespiratory fitness; intestinal protozoa; physical activity programme; school-aged children; soil-transmitted helminths; South Africa body mass index; cardiorespiratory fitness; intestinal protozoa; physical activity programme; school-aged children; soil-transmitted helminths; South Africa
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Müller, I.; Schindler, C.; Adams, L.; Endes, K.; Gall, S.; Gerber, M.; Htun, N.S.N.; Nqweniso, S.; Joubert, N.; Probst-Hensch, N.; du Randt, R.; Seelig, H.; Smith, D.; Steinmann, P.; Utzinger, J.; Yap, P.; Walter, C.; Pühse, U. Effect of a Multidimensional Physical Activity Intervention on Body Mass Index, Skinfolds and Fitness in South African Children: Results from a Cluster-Randomised Controlled Trial. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 232.

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