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Open access

Jerzy Saczuk and Agnieszka Wasiluk

Changes in the somatic and fitness variables in girls over two decades

Study aim: To assess the generation changes in somatic and motor variables in menstruating and non-menstruating girls from Eastern Poland.

Material and methods: Two cohorts of girls aged 10 - 15 years from Eastern regions of Poland were studied in 1986 (n = 2554) and in 2006 (n = 5563). The age at menarche was determined in girls by probit method employing the status quo technique. The girls were subjected to the International Physical Fitness Test battery and the results were classified into two categories: those of girls who already menstruated (M) or who have not yet (N).

Results: Mean menarcheal age significantly (p>0.001) decreased in 2006 compared with 1986 (12.77 and 13.41, respectively). This was accompanied by marked, significant increases in body height, significant changes in body mass and significant increases in the slimness. Physical fitness generally decreased, especially in girls aged over 12 years, but in the handgrip and in sit-ups significant improvements were noted in both groups of girls.

Conclusions: The results seem to support the view that the secular advancement of somatic traits was associated with decreasing physical fitness.

Open access

Agnieszka Wasiluk and Jerzy Saczuk


Introduction. The aim of this study was to analyze body composition of female inhabitants of Biała Podlaska aged 60 years and older and characterized by different levels of physical activity. Material and methods. The study material were results from a survey conducted with 180 female inhabitants of Biała Podlaska aged 60 years and older (x 65.30 ± 4.68). The women were analyzed for body height, body mass, BMI and body composition. Their physical activity was determined using the IPAQ questionnaire and according to results achieved the women were classified into two groups: low physical activity (n=132), and moderate and high physical activity (n=48). The average frequency, duration and weekly energy expenditure of physical activities undertaken by the respondents were estimated in both groups. In addition, a social enquiry was conducted that enabled gathering information on the level of education, marital status and family status of the women. Results achieved were elaborated statistically. Results. The marital status 2 2 (χ2 =11.001, p<0.05) and family status (χ2 = 4.113, p<0.05) of the female senior inhabitants of Biała Podlaska were 2 modifying their physical activity to a greater extent that the educational status did (χ2 = 30.360, p>0.05). In addition, significant correlations were observed between absolute values of tissue components of the body and physical activity of the senior women. The average total energy expenditure in the group with a low physical activity accounted for 236.5 MET, whereas in the group with moderate and high physical activity - for 2255.3 MET. Conclusions. The study demonstrated that not only time devoted to physical activity but also its intensity affected the levels of tissue components. Results achieved in the survey indicate the necessity of continuing studies to examine correlations between body composition and physical activity of older population.

Open access

Jerzy Saczuk, Agnieszka Wasiluk and Adam Wilczewski


Biological state of a group of people or particular individuals in various phases of ontogenesis should be treated as a positive health measure. The aim of the study was to assess the directions of changes in body height and age at menarche of girls from eastern Poland in the years 1986-2016. The data regarding 30784 students aged 10-16 living in towns and villages of the eastern parts of such regions as Podkarpackie, Lubelskie, Podlaskie, Warminsko-mazurskie and, to a slight extent, Mazowieckie were used in the study. Body height was measured and information concerning the place of living and age at menarche (yes-no) was gathered during interviews. Acceleration of body height and age at menarche was observed in girls from the east of Poland in the period of political transformation and after European Union (EU) accession, while the level of secular trends was connected with the pace of changes in the environment. Biological effects of the EU preservation of Polish agriculture and particular care of the eastern provinces of Poland reduced developmental differences between these provinces and other regions of Poland. Moreover, in the analysed period of three decades (1986-2016), the disappearance of differences in body height and age at menarche between the inhabitants of rural and urban areas was noted, which indicates larger positive socio-economic changes in the countryside. In turn, greater body height was noted in non-menstruating girls compared to their menstruating counterparts. However, in subsequent observations, smaller differences between these groups were observed.

Open access

Agnieszka Wasiluk, Jerzy Saczuk, Jan Czeczelewski, Barbara Długołȩcka and Ewa Czeczelewska


Introduction. TIn a situation characterized by a low birth rate and a highly competitive education market, increasing attention is currently being paid not only to students' level of education, but also to their competencies and predisposition. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to analyze differences in morphological features among physical education students as compared with students of other subjects at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport (WWFiS) in Biała Podlaska. Material and methods. This study is based on anthropometric data from 165 first-year female students at WWFiS in Biała Podlaska. Analysis was conducted on a selection of students divided into groups based on their study profile. Using the technique developed by Martin and Saller, measurements were taken of the anthropometric features required to determine BMI and WHR indexes and to estimate body tissue composition. The following were used to characterize the collected variables: sample size (n) arithmetic mean ( ) and standard deviation (SD). Differences among the groups with regard to the features being measured were assessed using ANOVA variation analysis and NIR testing. Results. The study did not confirm reports from other authors concerning analysis of connections between bodily structure and education profile. Thus, it should be concluded that a student's physique plays only a small role in their being selected to study physical education. Conclusions. The differences noted between the groups should rather be interpreted as owing to environmental differences in the lifestyles of the girls in question, rather than to recruitment procedures and, by extension, education profile.

Open access

Jerzy Saczuk, Agnieszka Wasiluk and Mirosław Zalech


Study aim: To assess the size of secular trends in the physical fitness of boys from eastern Poland taking into consideration stages of education.

Material and methods: The physical fitness results of boys aged 7-19 years living in eastern regions of Poland were analyzed: 3188 students were examined in 1986 while in 2006 the research included 10 810 boys. In both examinations (1986 and 2006), the level of motor abilities was measured according to the guidelines of the International Physical Fitness Test. The individual results of children and youth examined in 2006, which took into account calendar age, were converted into points on a T scale, with means and standard deviations from 1986 accepted as norms. On the basis of the obtained point values and taking into account stages of education (7-9 – integrated teaching, 10-12 – primary school, 13-15 – lower-secondary school, 16-18 – upper-secondary school), arithmetic means and dispersion values concerning motor abilities in the groups were calculated. Individual results in motor abilities of every subject were used to define quantitative generation changes. Differences between the means obtained in 1986 and 2006, as well as between the fractions of boys qualified for respective fitness category in both examinations, were assessed.

Results: Over the 2-decade period the boys from eastern Poland slightly improved their results only as far as sit-ups are concerned (1.47 points), while the level of bent arm hang, handgrip, 50 m run, and shuttle run 4×10 m remained the same. In contrast, negative changes were observed in the long run (4.44 points), the sit-and-reach test (4.47 points), and the standing broad jump (3.74 points). The greatest decline in motor abilities was noted amongst schoolchildren from integrated education classes (2.69 points); whereas the smallest decline was noted in adolescents from lower secondary schools (0.60 points).

Conclusions: The changes noted in physical fitness indicate that in the context of health the revision of the Act on Physical Culture from 2002, which reduced the number of school’s physical education classes, is a debatable issue.

Open access

Jerzy Saczuk, Agnieszka Wasiluk, Robert Wilczewski and Adam Wilczewski


Introduction. In the current situation of the demographic decline and simultaneous tough competition on the educational market, the issues of not only teaching levels but also the competences and aptitudes of students themselves are raised more and more often. Therefore, this study sought to analyse differences in the body build and physical fitness of physical education (PE) students from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport in Biała Podlaska in the years 1989, 2004, and 2014. Material and methods. The material included the results of the anthropometric measurements and physical fitness tests of second-year students examined in 1989 (n = 111), 2004 (n = 181), and 2014 (n = 127). Martin and Saller’s technique was employed to measure anthropometric features necessary to establish body build types using the Heath-Carter method. Physical fitness was evaluated with the International Physical Fitness Test. Sample size (n), arithmetic mean (x̅), standard deviation (SD), and the T point scale were applied to assess the collected variables. Differences in the sizes of the analysed features between the groups were estimated with the use of ANOVA and the Newman-Keuls test. Results. The analysis revealed a constant increase in basic somatic features and endomorphy and a decrease in mesomorphy and physical fitness in male subjects. The ectomorphy of students examined in 2014 was at a level similar to that recorded in 1989. The pace of the described changes was different depending on the study period. Conclusions. Secular trends in body build and physical fitness observed in the study may stem from deterioration in the biological potential of youths or may result from lowering physical education entrance exam criteria at the university.