Differences in body composition and occurrence of postural deviations in boys from two racial groups in South Africa
Little is known about ethnic differences in developing countries like South Africa, particularly with regard to occurrence of postural deviations and body composition profiles. The aim of this study was to compare the occurrence of postural deviations and body composition among two racial groups in South Africa. The sample (n = 219) consisted of 79 African boys and 140 Caucasian boys. Anthropometric (BMI and percentage body fat) and body posture measurements were performed. Measurements were taken according to the standard procedures of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). A posture grid and the New York Posture Test were used for all postural assessments. Independent t-tests (p<0.05) and effect sizes demonstrated that in all three age groups (11 to 13 years) the Caucasian group had a significantly higher BMI and percentage body fat compared to the African group. There were no statistical and practical significant differences in occurrence between age groups (p<0.05). The African group had higher occurrence in most of the deformities with winged scapulae, protruding abdomen and lordosis demonstrating a statistical significance (p<0.05) and a practical significance (large effect) with regard to the Caucasian group. The higher occurrence of kyphosis and pronated feet in the African group was statistically significant (p<0.05), and visible (medium effect) with regard to the Caucasian group. The higher occurrence of flat feet in the African group was statistically significant (p<0.05), but demonstrated a small effect which is not visible. The higher occurrences for uneven shoulders in the Caucasian group was statistical significant (p<0.05) and also visible (medium effect) with regard to the African group. The results of this study support the development of more responsible education and screening programmes in both rural and urban school environment. Early detection and treatment programmes targeted at children, designed to prevent postural diseases from subsequently becoming chronic adult disabilities, should be an important health strategy for the young population.
Key words: Postural deviations, BMI, fat percentage, body composition, ethnic, South Africa.