Permanent deficits in handgrip strength and running speed performance in low birth weight children

Authors

  • Marcos Moura-Dos-Santos,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco 50670-901, Brazil
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  • João Wellington-Barros,

    1. Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, CAV, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco 55608-680, Brazil
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  • Marcelus Brito-Almeida,

    1. Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, CAV, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco 55608-680, Brazil
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  • Raul Manhães-de-Castro,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco 50670-901, Brazil
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  • José Maia,

    1. CIFI2D, Kinanthropometry and Applied Statistics Lab, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto 4200-450, Portugal
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  • Carol Góis Leandro

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, CAV, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco 55608-680, Brazil
    • Núcleo de Educação Física e Ciências do Esporte, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro Acadêmico de Vitória, CAV, Recife, Pernambuco 55608-680, Brazil
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  • This study was performed at the Department of Nutrition, Federal University of Pernambuco, 50670-901 Recife, PE, Brazil

Abstract

Objective:

The main goal of this study was to verify the influence of low birth weight (LBW) on the physical fitness of children aged 7–10 years. The comparisons were subsequently adjusted for chronological age, gender, physical activity (PA), and body composition.

Methods:

A total of 356 children of both genders born in Vitoria de Santo Antão (Northeast of Brazil) were divided into two groups according to their birth weight (LBW < 2.500 g, n = 100, and normal birth weight, NBW ≥ 3.000 g and ≤ 3.999 g, n = 256). Body composition measurements included body weight, height, body mass index, triceps, and subscapular skinfolds, and body fat percentage (%BF). PA was assessed by a questionnaire. Physical fitness was assessed by handgrip strength, muscle endurance, explosive power, flexibility, agility, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), and running speed.

Results:

LBW children were shorter, lighter, had lower fat-free mass, muscle strength, and running speed but a higher VO2max than the NBW group. The differences in body weight (P = 0.507), height (P = 0.177), fat-free mass (P = 0.374), and VO2max (P = 0.312) disappeared when adjusted for covariates. The differences in right and left handgrip strength (P < 0.01) and running speed (P < 0.01) remained significant even when controlled for age, gender, height, fat-free mass, and PA.

Conclusion:

This combined analysis suggests that LBW alone can be not considered as a biological determinant of growth, body composition, or physical fitness in children, but is a predictor of muscle strength and running speed. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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