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Keywords:

  • Preschool children;
  • Somatic development;
  • Skinfolds;
  • Step test;
  • Motor Performance;
  • Muscle Strength

Abstract

Groups of preschool children were followed longitudinally: boys, n = 36, from 3.48 up to 6.02 years and girls, n = 22, from 3.53 up to 6.03 years. Anthropometric dimensions, skinfold thicknesses, reaction of the cardiovascular system to a work load (modified step test), motor performance, and hand grip strength were measured. Boys had greater values for height, weight, length, and circumferential measures, with the exception of the thigh. Boys had also smaller skinfolds and better performances in 20 meter dash, broad jump, cricket ball throw, and grip strength compared to girls. All anthropometric dimensions increased with age, but these increase did not have the same character. Children became more linear in spite of relatively greater increase in total body weight. Chest and abdomen circumferences increased more in boys during the last year of the study. Skinfold thicknesses decreased significantly in boys, and stayed the same in girls. Motor performance and muscle strength also increased during the experimental period. Pulse rate at rest, during modified step test and recovery period decreased with age, and the economy of cardiac work improved significantly as indicated by step test index and/or cardiac efficiency index. The changes derived from longitudinal observations corresponded to previous results of cross-sectional data.