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Dorota Trzcińska, Dorota Świderska, Piotr Tabor and Elżbieta Olszewska

Abstract

Introduction. Body posture is a somatic characteristic essential for the biological development of the child, especially in the periods of rapid growth and those associated with changes in lifestyle. Its lability and dimorphic and ontogenetic variability cause a lot of controversy. Doubts are also raised by environmental diversity of this development feature. Hence, the purpose of the studies undertaken is the comparative evaluation of postures of six-year-old children in urban and rural areas. Material and methods. The study was conducted in 2011-2013. A total of 1057 children, including the 371 boys and girls from the Warsaw agglomeration and 147 boys and 168 girls from the rural environment in the Lublin region were subjects of the study. The average age was 5.87 (± 0.30) years. Posture in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes was diagnosed by a visual method using scanning technique. In the mathematical analysis of numerical data the selected techniques of descriptive statistics and Student's t-test and chi-square test were used. Results. The differences in body posture between the environments in favor of the children from the rural areas emerged most strongly in the sagittal plane. They related to posture components such as: setting of the shoulders and shoulder blades (boys and girls), abdominal bulge (boys) and the position of the head (girls). In the assessment of the lower extremities the study demonstrated favorable condition knees in rural children as compared with their peers from the city. The only element of posture better shaped in the urban subgroup was the size of thoracic kyphosis. Conclusions. Established posture quality - treated as one of the positive measures of health - allows for a higher rating of this school readiness component in lowly urbanized residential areas. The complexity of posture diagnostics and lability and variability of the analyzed somatic characteristics dictate caution in formulating radical and definitive opinions on the importance of urbanization as posturogenesis condition.

Open access

Dorota Trzcińska, Dorota Świderska, Piotr Tabor and Elżbieta Olszewska

Abstract

Introduction. In the auxologic literature numerous publications confirming the importance of environmental factors for the biological processes of growth and development of motor skills of children and adolescents can be found. The aim of the study was a comparative assessment of the level of somatic development and physical fitness of six-year-old children in urban and rural areas. Material and methods. The study was conducted in 2011-2013. A total of 1,057 children, including the 371 boys and girls from the Warsaw agglomeration and 147 boys and 168 girls from the rural environment in the Lublin region were subjects of the study. The average age was 5.87 (±0.30) years. In order to determine the status of somatic development the following features were measured: height and weight, 3 circumferences (shoulder, chest and waist), and 5 skinfolds (above the biceps and triceps, subscapular, on the stomach and on the calf). To assess the motor level the fitness test was used, consisting of the 5 following tests: seated forward bend, shuttle run 10x5 m, standing long jump, sitting-up for 30 s, and 1 kg medicine ball throw with both hands above the head forward. In the mathematical analysis of numerical data the selected techniques of descriptive statistics and Student's t-test and chisquare test were used. Results. Average values of height and weight, and body circumferences were higher in the rural areas (in these measurements of boys' body weight and broad parameters differed significantly). In environments differing in the degree of urbanization of place of residence a similar level of fatness was reported. In the most tests of physical fitness better results were achieved by rural children. This dominance was found especially in the 10x5 m shuttle run and the medicine ball throw. In these tests, there were significant differences in both sex groups. In addition, rural boys achieved significantly better results in the standing long jump and girls - in forward bend. Conclusions. The presence of signaled in the literature urbanization gradients in the rates of somatic development in favor of the urban population was not confirmed. In terms of selected anthropometric parameters (body circumferences) even a significant advantage of six-year-old children in rural areas against the peers in the city was noted. Dominance of the respondents from the rural environment has also been found in the image of their physical fitness. Higher levels of somatic-motor school readiness of six-year-old children from rural areas as compared with urban peers were shown.