Background: Childhood obesity and hypertension are global problems that are on the rise in India. Improving physical activity is an accepted main line of strategy for overcoming poor body composition, hypertension and reduced cardio respiratory fitness (CRF) all of which are considered as independent risk factors for the development of future cardiovascular complications.
Aim: Present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of regular unstructured physical training and athletic level training on anthropometric measures, body composition, blood pressure and cardio respiratory fitness in adolescents.
Settings and Design: This is a collaborative study between the Department of physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research and Residential school, Jawahar Navodhya Vidyalaya, Puducherry, India.
Method and Material: Student volunteers in the age group of 12–17 years were classified into athletes (group 1) and physically active non-athletes (group 2). Parameters measured and calculated were weight, height, body mass index, waist and hip circumference, body fat percentage (BF%), fat free mass (FFM), Systolic (SBP) & Diastolic blood pressure (DBP), Mean arterial pressure (MAP), Rate pressure product (RPP) and Predicted VO2 max.
Statistical Analysis used: Mean difference between the groups was analysed using unpaired Student’s t–test. All statistical analysis was carried out for two-tailed significance at the 5 % level using SPSS version 19 (SPSSInc, USA).
Results: Anthropometric measures, body composition measures and blood pressure values of both the group students were within the normal limits. There was no significant difference in anthropometric and body composition parameters between the group 1 and group 2 students. DBP, MAP and RPP were significantly lower in group 1 students when compared to group 2 students. VO2 max values were more in group 1 girls as compared to group 2 girls while the values of boys were comparable between the two groups.
Conclusion: Regular unstructured physical activity for 60 minutes daily for the duration of one year can help the students to maintain their anthropometric parameters, body composition measures and CRF at par with the athletes of the same age and gender. However, athletic level training further reduces the cardiovascular load of the adolescent students.