Assessment of Anthropometric Indicators among Rural Students in the West of Moldavia Marketing

Abstract

This paper aims to identify the anthropometric characteristics of students from rural areas in two counties of Moldavia, 0-200m altitude floor. The study was conducted on a sample of 329 children in the 5th grade, from counties near Iasi (175 students) and Vrancea (154 students). The measurements included height and weight assessment and comparison of the values obtained with the national reference standards for a certain age, gender and family of origin (rural). Values are presented by comparing the two counties studied. Statistical processing of the results is performed using Pearson’s test. Results show that the dominant values of height are average (48.02%), the differences being statistically insignificant calculated by counties (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 0.851). It draws attention the 2.12% young people with pathological values for height (above the average +3 sigma). Body weight has average values in 56.83% of the cases presented for both counties, and the calculated differences are statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 5.757). The incidence of pathological situations reaches 8.2%, which is a problem. Diagnosis of physical development allows emphasizing only 59.57% children with harmonious development, which is very little. The differences between the two counties are statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 2.957). In conclusion, results are similar for the two counties, so it is necessary to use other selection criterion for young people, which will be prepared for different sports. The criterion of geographical conditions offers few advantages in terms of anthropological indicators.

Keywords: Height, weight, teenager, countryside, Moldavia

1. Introduction

The growth and development of children and teenagers are two processes influenced by the action

of internal (genetic) and external (environmental) factors. Most of the somatic and some of the mental

characteristics are genetically determined. There are genetic differences concerning the height of

populations. Asian children are less tall compared to European or American children. African

Americans have longer upper and lower limbs compared to the European population. African

population has stronger muscles, denser bones and less body fat compared to the European population

(Eveleth & Tanner, 1990: 215). The body composition differences between populations also explain

the differences in sports performances. African athletes often obtain exceptional results, partially

explicable by their genetic particularities.

The category of environmental factors includes geo-climatic conditions, family background,

socioeconomic conditions, diet, dwelling, family, motor activity, health status and pollution.

Geo-climatic conditions influence growth mostly indirectly, by altering the flora and fauna of the

region in question. People who live at higher altitudes are less tall compared to people who live at sea

level. The difference is due to the distinct diet and to the partial decrease in oxygen, which favours

hypoxia (World Health Organisation,1999).

A series of modifications in the body appearance are recorded in certain climatic areas, some of

which are useful in certain sports branches. People who live in a warm climate have longer extremities,

while those who live in cold climates have better developed torsos. Such alterations allow the body to

adjust to living conditions: losing heat in the warm microclimate and reducing heat loss in the cold one.

Another factor that influences growth and development and that should be taken into account when

attracting young people toward sports is family background. In the entire world (except for the US and

Australia), urban children are better developed compared to rural children (Sonenstein, 2014; Eveleth

& Tanner, 1990: 203). The differences are considerable, reason for which one should use different

baselines depending on family background. When advising a student to choose a certain sports activity,

it is important to let them know all of these aspects.

2. Materials and methods

The study was conducted on a sample of 329 students from two counties in the West of Moldavia (a

notion used by Muntele, 1998): Iaşi (175 students) and Vrancea (135 students). The gender distribution

is not equal: 88 girls are from Iaşi County, while 66 from Vrancea. As for boys, 87 are from Iaşi and 90

from Vrancea.

According to Erdeli and Dumitrache (2001, adapted after Stasezewski, 1957), in terms of altitude,

most of the European population (92.3%) lives between 0 and 800 m. Iordache (2009) states that “over

56% of the Romanian inhabitants live in plain and low hill areas, up to 200 m altitude”;

In both counties, we chose to examine people from the altitude interval 0-200 m. We chose the same

altitude interval to assess the differences (or lack of them) in the physical development of students who

live in different areas, but in similar climatic conditions. We assessed the anthropometric indicators

(height and weight) of rural students aged between 10 and 12 (fifth graders) (World Health

Organisation, 2007). We interpreted the results by using national standard baselines for the rural

environment. These baselines indicate average development (average +/- sigma interval), high

development (average + sigma and average + 2 sigma) or very high development of children (average

+ 2 sigma and average + 3 sigma) (Bardov, 2009: 384). To the other extreme, there are the low values

(average – sigma and average – 2 sigma) or very low values (average – 2 sigma and average – 3 sigma)

(Gavăt, Albu, & Petrariu, 2006: 157). To avoid a too high dispersion of the results, the low and very

low values or the high and very high values will be discussed together. Values lower than average – 3

sigma and higher than average +3 sigma are pathological. We will make a separate interpretation for

the entire sample and then by gender. We will also conduct a comparative analysis of the results.

We have also determined the physical development diagnostic that allows us to assess the

correlation between height and weight. If height and weight are in the same sigma interval, the

development is well balanced. If the two indicators are in two different sigma intervals, the

development is not balanced (underweight or overweight issues). The results were processed using

Pearson’s test.

3. Results

We studied the anthropometric indicators of height and weight. The correlation between them

allowed us to determine the physical development diagnostic (Albu & Rada, 2014).

The height of students within our study is generally average (48.02%). This is an expected result for

students aged 10-12, who have not yet begun puberty, except for few of them (Misaki, 2013). It is

worth underscoring 2.12% of the children with pathological values for height, which are higher than

average + 3 sigma. They should be monitored carefully, in order to interpret their situation correctly

(pathological or normal growth leap) (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Distribution of cases by height
Distribution of cases by height
See Full Size >

The distribution of the results by county indicated statistically insignificant differences (p> 0.05, Gl

= 3, χ² = 0.851).

It is important to continue the study with the analysis of results by gender, because it is known that

their growth process is distinct. For males, average values (46.4%) and high/very high (44.2%) values

of height are dominant, while the differences found were statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ²

= 2.957) (Table 1).

Figure 2: Height levels by gender
Height levels by gender
See Full Size >

Among females, average (50%) and high/very high values are dominant (44.7%), while the

differences found were statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 3.664). The comparison by

gender also revealed statistically insignificant differences (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 3.373), though some of

the girls had already shown the first signs of puberty (Ştirbu, Miu, & Simalcsik,2003).

We found the weight of students within our sample to be average (56.83%) in most cases, which

contradicts the opinions of certain specialists who warn about the alarming number of obese children

(Fig. 2).

Figure 3: Distribution of cases by weight
Distribution of cases by weight
See Full Size >

We have remarked 8.2% children who scored pathological values for weight (exceeding average + 3

sigma). This is not an alarming percentage; actually, it is not very unusual. We believed it would be

useful to continue the study of results by gender, in order to get a better insight especially concerning

the status of girls (Table 2).

Among boys, average values are dominant (71.2%), but there is a percentage of 11.9% students who

featured a pathological weight. By counties, the differences are statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl =

3, χ² = 7.01) and they suggest a similar situation concerning the obesity rate. Among girls, the average

values were scored only in 61.2% of the cases, while pathological values are present in 3.9% of the

children. The differences calculated by gender are statistically insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² =

0.526).

Figure 4: Distribution of the results for weight by gender
Distribution of the results for weight by gender
See Full Size >

The comparison between the results obtained for the two genders showed statistically insignificant

differences (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 7.249), which underlines the fact that girls had not started to be

concerned with their appearance, yet.

The most important indicator is the one represented by physical development diagnostic. Well-

balanced development was found in 59.57% of the children, while 31% students showed a lack of

balance; in this case, too, we found statistically insignificant differences (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 2.957).

We underline that 9.43% of these students have a pathological development, considering the height

that exceeds average + 3 sigma, and mostly a weight higher than average + 3 sigma (Fig. 3).

Physical development diagnostic in the students within our sample

The misbalanced development including underweight issues was present in 20.1% of the students,

while underweight issues in 10.9% of the children. Practically, it is impossible for us to state that there

are many overweight children within this sample.

Another aspect to study was related to the distribution of cases of well-developed students by

gender. Among boys, the percentage of well-developed children reaches 58.2%, while differences are

insignificant (p> 0.05, Gl = 3, χ² = 5.277) if we consider the analysis by county. Among girls, 61.2%

are well-developed, while differences are insignificant if we consider the analysis by county (p> 0.05,

Gl = 3, χ² = 0.55) (Table 3).

Figure 5: Physical development diagnostic within our sample
Physical development diagnostic within our sample
See Full Size >

The comparison between the two genders is important because we have found statistically

significant differences: p< 0.05 (Gl = 3, χ² = 8.284).

4. Discussions and conclusions

Our main objective was to assess the physical development of students from two counties in the

West of Moldavia, for pinpointing potential differences (Vasilov, 2001).

Average height was found for almost half of the children we measured. This is a normal result for

the age group 10-12, which generally does not show signs of puberty yet (Alexander, 2010: 92). These

modifications emerge later among rural children and later among boys. Students featuring pathological

values of height should get a medical examination in order to interpret the result afterwards (Cordeanu

et al.,2008). This may include a pathological process or simply an accelerated growth that has led to

exceeding standard values. However, it is difficult to interpret the results obtained by girls, because

some should have begun the puberty period, which includes significantly higher values of stature

compared to boys (for a short period) (Papalia & Olds, 1990: 395; Kreipe, 2011: 111).

Weight recorded mostly average values, which is a positive element. Only a small percentage of the

children measured by us showed pathological values for body weight. Within this sample, we have not

found an exaggerated growth of the body weight, unlike what specialists sometimes stress (Glavce et

al., 2008). Among the children, we have not found any tendencies of identifying themselves with

certain ideals of beauty, reason for which girls did not show any signs of obsessing over diets

(Braconnier, 1999: 7; Godeau, Arnaud, & Navarro, 2008: 122).

The most important indicator for selecting and advising a child to start a sports activity is the

physical development diagnostic. A well-balanced student has the highest chances of being able to

practice a sport consistently. An underweight student does not have enough strength to practice sports,

while overweight students show no interest in sports. Among girls, pathological development or excess

weight is less frequent, which means that they have started to be preoccupied by not gaining weight

(World Health Organisation, 2000).

The results obtained by counties with the same altitude level are similar. It would be necessary to

include other criteria for the selection of children for various sports. The criterion of family background

must always be included, because the development of rural children is lower than that of urban

children. The assessment of anthropometric indicators plays an important role within the monitoring of

general development of students, mostly when children plan to practice a certain sport.

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Publication Date

18 December 2019

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Cite this article as:

Onose, I., Hodorca, R., & Albu, A. (2019). Assessment of Anthropometric Indicators among Rural Students in the West of Moldavia Marketing. In V. Grigore, M. Stanescu, & M. Paunescu (Eds.), Physical Education, Sport and Kinetotherapy - ICPESK 2015, vol 11. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 266-272). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.06.36