Somatotype, blood pressure and physical activity among 10- to 15- year old South African boys: the THUSA BANA study

  • L. Badenhorst
  • J.H. de Ridder
  • C. Underhay


Awareness of blood pressure issues in the pediatric population has increased, leading to conceptual changes in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood hypertension. Physical activity may be utilized in the prevention and treatment of an unhealthy body composition due to the increase in resting metabolic rate, and the energy use it facilitates. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of physical activity on the prevalence of specific somatotypes and blood pressure levels among 10 to 15 year old boys. Anthropometric data were collected according to the methods of Norton & Olds (1996) and blood pressure was measured with the Finapres (“Finger Arterial Pressure”). The Previous Day Physical Activity Recall Questionnaire (PDPAR) was used to access the different activity levels among the subjects. A total of 603 boys from four different ethnic backgrounds were measured. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and two-way multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) procedures were used for all comparisons. Although there were no statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between physical activity level, somatotype and elevated blood pressure, a trend was observed which indicated that the blood pressure of the endomorphic boys was the highest and rose with an increase in physical activity levels. An increase in physical activity did not lower the resting blood values of endomorphic boys.
Key words: Physical activity, adolescent boys, anthropometry, body composition, somatotype, blood pressure, hypertension.

(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 Special Edition: 184-195)

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939