Nutrition and physical development assessment of pre-school and primary school children practising artistic gymnastics
Overweight among children is becoming more and more serious problem worldwide. The maintenance of a normal weight depends on diet and physical activity. One of the few sports which children from pre-school and primary school can practise is artistic gymnastics. The aim of this study was to assess the diet along with the physical development of pre-school and young school children practising artistic gymnastics. In the study took part 38 young gymnasts aged between 4 and 12 years. Anthropometric parameters were measured and the physical development was estimated by specialised software of the World Health Organisation. The Z-score and percentile score for each variable were calculated. The daily intake of protein, carbohydrates and fat, and the total energy intake were calculated based on a nutrition questionnaire adapted especially for children. The results showed that the protein intake was higher and the carbohydrates and fat were lower in comparison with the national population survey data for the same age group. According to BMI 72% of the young gymnasts were with normal weight and 19% were overweight. However the body mass index did not provide adequate weight assessment for young gymnasts, who had greater muscle mass. In conclusion, for better evaluation of overweight and obesity in young athletes the use of additional indicators such body circumferences, % body fat and dynamometry is recommended. In overweight children the aerobic exercises during the warm-up should increase. The nutrition questionnaire used provides a good estimation of the average level of nutrients and energy intake.
Keywords: Anthropometry, athletes, BMI, diet, energy