Somatic and functional status of boys from various social and environmental categories
Study aim: To assess the somatic and fitness status of adolescent boys from polluted industrial areas.
Material and methods: A group of 313 boys aged 11 - 15 years from 5 villages located in the copper mine area in South-Western Poland were classified by the degree of lead and cadmium pollution (high - very high) and by parents' education (primary - secondary or higher). Somatic (body height and mass, BMI, body fat content) and functional (handgrip strength, standing broad jump, sit-and-reach, plate tapping, 1-kg medicinal ball throw, reaction time) were recorded. The data were standardised against age-specific means and standard deviations and subjected to two-way ANOVA.
Results: Boys from more polluted area had significantly (p<0.01) higher BMI than those from the less polluted one but only when their parents had primary education. Explosive strength was significantly higher in the less polluted area (p<0.05) and when parents had higher than primary education (p<0.01). In case of reaction speed only the degree of environmental pollution had significant effect (p<0.05), no significant effects being noted for other variables
Conclusions: The results pointed to the importance of parents' education in shaping health-directed behaviours, which may compensate for the negative impact of a degraded environment.