Purpose. Handgrip strength and arm hang have been recognized as predictors of muscle strength and presented as biomarkers for important health outcomes and overall fitness of an individual. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between arm hang and handgrip strength with BMI and skinfold thickness.
Method. The total of 769 children (391 boys and 378 girls) aged 9-15 years underwent a series of anthropometric and strength measurements with the use of standard procedures. Linear regression was applied to assess the relationship of arm hang and handgrip strengths with body mass index and skinfold thickness.
Results. The prevalence of undernutrition and low strength measurements was high (1.7-85%) while the prevalence of overweight and obesity was low (1.5-4.2%) in the Ellisras children aged 9-15 years. Boys showed a significantly higher (p < 0.05) mean arm hang (9.6-13.1 kg) than girls (4.0-5.1 kg) aged 11-15 years. There was a significant (p < 0.05) association between low strength and underweight among Ellisras rural children when unadjusted (OR = 0.650; 95% CI = 0.487-0.867) and adjusted (OR = 0.650; 95% CI = 0.489-0.868) for age and gender.
Conclusions. The prevalence of undernutrition and poor strength was high. An association was observed between arm hang and anthropometric indicators while handgrip showed no significant association with anthropometric indicators. Further studies are needed to investigate the association between strength and undernutrition over time.
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