Physical Fitness and Physical Activity in Obese and Nonobese Flemish Youth

Deforche, Benedicte, Lefevre, Johan, De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse, Hills, Andrew P., Duquet, William, & Bouckaert, Jacques (2003) Physical Fitness and Physical Activity in Obese and Nonobese Flemish Youth. Obesity Research, 11(3), pp. 434-441.


Objective: To assess different aspects of physical fitness and physical activity in obese and nonobese Flemish youth. Research Methods and Procedures: A random sample of 3214 Flemish schoolchildren was selected and divided into an "obese" and "nonobese" group based on body mass index and sum of skinfolds. Physical fitness was assessed by the European physical fitness test battery. Physical activity was estimated by a modified version of the Baecke Questionnaire. Results: Obese subjects had inferior performances on all tests requiring propulsion or lifting of the body mass (standing-broad jump, sit-ups, bent-arm hang, speed shuttle run, and endurance shuttle run) compared with their nonobese counterparts (p < 0.001). In contrast, the obese subjects showed greater strength on handgrip (p < 0.001). Both groups had similar levels of leisure-time physical activity; however, nonobese boys had a higher sport index than their obese counterparts (p < 0.05). Discussion: Results of this study show that obese subjects had poorer performances on weight-bearing tasks, but did not have lower scores on all fitness components. To encourage adherence to physical activity in obese youth, it is important that activities are tailored to their capabilities. Results suggest that weight-bearing activities should be limited at the start of an intervention with obese participants and alternative activities that rely more on static strength used.

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ID Code: 10361
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: physical fitness • physical activity • adiposity • children • youth
ISSN: 1071-7323
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Exercise Physiology (110602)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 The North American Association for the Study of Obesity
Deposited On: 24 Oct 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 12:59

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