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The fitness parameters of 14--17 year old children in Sierra Leone

Dissertation
Author: Francis H. T. Dove-Edwin
Abstract:
This dissertation measured physical fitness in 884 boys and girls age 14-17 years old living in Sierra Leone. The test battery was designed to measure the major components of fitness for sports performance and health. The fitness tests included the 20m shuttle run, push-ups, side bridge (left and right), 40m sprint, static abdominal hold, 12 minute run, and pull ups. In the 20-m shuttle run, the average time varied between 7.19 to 8.05 seconds in boys and 7.72 to 8.58 seconds in girls (mean age-groups values). Push-ups varied between 20.3 and 42.2 repetitions in boys and 19.2 to 30.7 in girls. Side-bridge endurance (right and left) varied between 67.8 seconds to 134.1 seconds in boys and 58.7 to 110.7 seconds in girls. The 40-meter dash times varied between 5.74 to 6.12 seconds in boys and 6.63 to 7.06 seconds in girls. Static abdominal endurance time varied between 93.4 to 142.6 seconds in boys and 104.7 to 142.4 seconds in girls. Boys ran between 1883.3 to 2145.3 meters in the 12-minute run test and girls ran 1548.5 to 1904.6 meters. In pull-ups, boys performed between 8.6 to 10.9 repetitions and girls between 4.8 and 6.4 repetitions. The norms established in this study will serve as the basis for a national physical fitness testing program in Sierra Leone. The norms will be modified as we test more students. They will be used to help measure health and fitness in school children and identify children with athletic talent who night benefit for specialized training.

TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE PAGE i DEDICATION ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF TABLES vi ABSTRACT vii CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 Statement of the Problem 9 Sub-Problems 9 Research Questions 10 Definitions of Terms 10 Scope of the Study 11 Delimitations 11 Limitations 12 Assumptions 12 Significance of the Study 12 CHAPTER II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 14 Physical Activity 14 Lifestyle 23 Obesity 26 Predictive Test for Sport Performance 30 Test Reliability 36 Fitness Test 38 Summary 44 CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY 46 Subjects 46 Equipment 47 Procedures 47 20-Meter Shuttle Run 48 iv

PushUps 48 Pull-Ups 49 Side Bridge (left & right) 50 40-Meter Sprint 50 Static Abdominal-Hold 51 12-MinuteRun 52 Research Design and Statistical Analysis 52 CHAPTER IV. RESULTS 53 20-Meter Shuttle Run 55 PushUps 58 Side Bridge (Right and Left) 60 40-Meter Sprint 65 Static Abdominal-Hold 67 12-MinuteRun 71 Pull-ups 73 Summary of Results 76 CHAPTER V. CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 79 Subjects - Profile and Experience 79 Establishment of Norms 80 Physical Characteristics 81 Age and Gender Performances 81 Discussion 83 Recommendations for Further Study 85 REFERENCES 88 APPENDIX 106 A: Panel of Experts 107 B: Researchers Scripts 108 C: Informed Consent Form 109 D: Sierra Leone Study Approval 110 E: USSAApproval I l l v

LIST OF TABLES Table 4.1: Physical Fitness Tests (Mean± Standard Deviation), Boys 55 Table 4.2: Physical Fitness Tests (Mean± Standard Deviation), Girls 59 Table 4.3: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for 20-meter Shuttle Run 57 Table 4.4: Percentiles for 20-m shuttle run (seconds) 58 Table 4.5: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for push-ups 60 Table 4.6: Percentiles, Push-ups (repetitions) 61 Table 4.7: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for side bridge test (left) 63 Table 4.8: 2-Way Analysis of variance with post-hoc tests for side bridge test (right) 63 Table 4.9: Percentiles for side-bridge, left (seconds) 64 Table 4.10: Percentiles for side-bridge, right (sec) 64 Table 4.11: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for 40-meter sprint (seconds) 67 Table 4.12: Percentiles for the 40-meter sprint 68 Table 4.13: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for static abdominal-hold (seconds) 70 Table 4.14: Percentiles for static abdominal-hold (seconds) 71 Table 4.15: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for 12-minute run (meters) 73 Table 4.16: Percentiles for 12-Minute Run (meters) 74 Table 4.17: 2-Way Analysis of Variance with post-hoc tests for pull-ups (repetitions) 76 Table 4.18: Percentiles for pull-ups (repetitions) 77 vi

ABSTRACT Dove-Edwin, Francis. H. (2009). The fitness parameters of 14-17 year old children in Sierra Leone. Doctor of Education degree at the United States Sports Academy, (November, 2009). Chair: Dr. Enrico Esposito This dissertation measured physical fitness in 884 boys and girls age 14-17 years old living in Sierra Leone. The test battery was designed to measure the major components of fitness for sports performance and health. The fitness tests included the 20m shuttle run, push-ups, side bridge (left and right), 40m sprint, static abdominal hold, 12 minute run, and pull ups. In the 20-m shuttle run, the average time varied between 7.19 to 8.05 seconds in boys and 7.72 to 8.58 seconds in girls (mean age-groups values). Push-ups varied between 20.3 and 42.2 repetitions in boys and 19.2 to 30.7 in girls. Side-bridge endurance (right and left) varied between 67.8 seconds to 134.1 seconds in boys and 58.7 to 110.7 seconds in girls. The 40-meter dash times varied between 5.74 to 6.12 seconds in boys and 6.63 to 7.06 seconds in girls. Static abdominal endurance time varied between 93.4 to 142.6 seconds in boys and 104.7 to 142.4seconds in girls. Boys ran between 1883.3 to 2145.3 meters in the 12-minute run test and girls ran 1548.5 to 1904.6 meters. In pull- ups, boys performed between 8.6 to 10.9 repetitions and girls between 4.8 and 6.4 repetitions. The norms established in this study will serve as the basis for a national physical fitness testing program in Sierra Leone. The norms will be modified as we test more students. They will be used to help measure health and fitness in school children and identify children with athletic talent who might benefit for specialized training. vii

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Sierra Leone is in the West coast of Africa. The Sierra Leone indigenous population comprises of 18 ethnic groups. The Temne in the north and the Mende in the South are the largest. The Krio makes up about 60,000 and are the descendants of freed Jamaicans/African slaves who returned to Freetown, Sierra Leone from Great Britain, North America and slave ships captured on the high seas of the slave triangle in the 18l century (US State Dept CIA files, 2009,). The present population size is 5,732,681 million. Twenty native African tribes form 90% of the population. The distribution is as follows: Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other 30% and the Creole 10%. New additions to the population are Liberians refuges from the recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Indians and Chinese. (Statistic Sierra Leone, 2004) The country is recovering from a civil war that ended in 2000. Severe economic and public health problems developed because of the war. In 2002, the average life expectancy in Sierra Leone was 45 years for males and 49 years for females. Political stability has had a positive effect on public health, as reflected by an increase in life expectancy to 49 years for men and 52 for women in 2007. However, expectancy is still among the lowest in the world. The nation faces daunting challenges in public health. Malaria and water born diseases are the major causes of death in Sierra Leone. Yves Willemot and Alusine Savage (2006), in their report for UNICEF confirmed that and observed that most 1

2 families living in Sierra Leone have faced the death of a child. Most deaths were from preventable diseases such as measles, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. Sierra Leone has the second-highest child mortality rate in the world, behind Niger. Sierra Leone's mortality rate is the worst in the world according to the United Nations 2008 Infant Mortality Report. There are a total of 161.06 deaths per 1,000 live births for female and total 146.86 deaths per 1,000 live births for males. (US State Dept, 2009). A recent survey by the government and the UN confirms that 60% of the children are malnourished. National and international efforts are causing some improvements in public health in Sierra Leone. In economically developed countries in North America and Europe, the gradual eradication of infectious diseases was accompanied by an increased incidence of preventable degenerative diseases, such as coronary artery disease, cancer, and stroke (Brooks, et al., 2005). The incidence of infectious diseases decreased because of improvements in sanitation, widespread immunization, and universal access to medical care. These countries were able to put increased emphasis on preventive health. Preventive health programs are important in developing countries. Sawaya and Roberts (2003) in their study on stunting and the future risk of obesity concluded that under nutrition could have a long-lasting impact on the metabolic health of the population. Under nutrition in developing countries impacts people throughout gestation, childhood, and from one generation to another. People who survive are more likely to have both physiological adaptation mechanisms and environmental conditioning that minimize the effects of under nutrition. They become efficient "energy storers" and they

survive because they are metabolically healthier than people who don't survive. Physical fitness is an important measure of metabolic health (Brooks et al., 2005) The physical challenges facing children in economically developing countries are obviously different from those in economically advanced countries. Metabolic fitness is critical to the survival of people faced with deadly pathogens, poor nutrition, chronic stress, and poor living conditions. Physical performance norms will reflect these conditions. Young people might be more physically fit than children from developed countries because of daily physical hardships. However, fitness might be less because the accumulation of physical and psychological stresses might cause deterioration in metabolic fitness. Fitness is the capacity to meet the demands of physical effort (Brooks, et al, 2005). Fitness measurement should include endurance, strength, power, flexibility, agility, motor ability, coordination, speed, and balance. Fitness is central to metabolic health and has been linked to reduced morbidity and mortality in a variety of populations. (Brooks, et al, 2005) Physical activity improves fitness and health in lean and overweight people. Health-related fitness improves metabolic health, boosts immune function, and reduces the risk of some diseases. Small changes in lifestyle can improve fitness. Kokkinos et al (2008) established that exercise capacity is inversely related to mortality risk in healthy individuals and those with cardiovascular diseases. The relationship was consistent in blacks and whites. Likewise, Ruiz et al (2008) found an inverse relationship between muscle strength and mortality risk from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all-causes. These data were gathered in economically advanced countries. It is also likely that aerobic capacity and strength are important

4 measures of metabolic health and longevity in developing countries such as Sierra Leone. However, no data exists on the physical fitness of the population. After the civil war many people adopted a more sedentary lifestyle. Children gained access to the Internet, satellite communication cellular telephones, computers, and video games. Video interactive devices require hours of practice to master the games; they promote a sedentary lifestyle. Bennett, Wolin, et al. (2006) studied how hours of television viewing and pedometer-determined steps per day among 486 subjects. The researchers concluded that average daily television viewing was associated with reductions in total pedometer-determined physical activity levels in people with lower- incomes. In recently developing countries in Asia, Macfarlane, and Tomkinson (2007) noted a consistent decline in cardiovascular endurance fitness performance of children ages 6 to 19 years during the past 10-15 years. Given the association between cardiovascular endurance fitness and numerous degenerative conditions (e.g., diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome), recent declines in cardiovascular endurance fitness performance of Asian children and adolescents should be an issue of major concern for public health authorities throughout Asia. Currently, malnutrition is a more serious problem than obesity and physical inactivity in Sierra Leone. However, as we have seen in emerging Asian countries, it could become a serious problem in Africa. Approximately 30 percent of Sierra Leone's populations are members of the Mende tribe and are genetically susceptible to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. The study identified gene mutations in people from the Mende tribe of Sierra Leone and Gullah-speaking African Americans who are direct descendents of the Mende tribe.

5 Malina, R. M. (2007) examined the physical fitness of school age children in the United States from two perspectives—status and secular change. The ethnic variation in physical fitness was not considered except for the prevalence of overweight and obesity, which has increased since the early 1980s. This might be due to the general trend of decline in fitness tests such as the 20-m shuttle run. These trends highlight the need for updated national physical fitness data for American youth. Guerin, Elmi, et al. (2007) in their study on body composition and cardio respiratory fitness among refugee Somali women living in New Zealand noted a tendency toward obesity and low fitness levels, particularly among the older Somali women. Somali women are at increased risk of developing lifestyle related diseases. Using objective techniques to assess human performance is not new. German pedagogue Johann Friedrich Guts Muths (1778-1893) wrote in his Gymnastics for Youth (1793) that an authentic theory of gymnastics should be based on a physiological foundation. In his Reports on the Physical and Moral Aspects of Man (1802), the French physician and physiologist Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis (1757-1808) offered a systematic description of the human organism and its sources of energy. The researcher further used the term "physical education" and "athletics" and argued that systematic physical preparation strengthens the body, helps fight disease, and improves the capacity of the organs in the human body to execute movement. Present research used a similar approach. Veugelers, and Fitzgerald (2005) looked at the effectiveness of school physical education programs in preventing childhood obesity and concluded from their findings that school programs are effective in preventing childhood obesity and supported the need for broader implementation of

6 successful programs, which will reduce childhood obesity in the short and long term. Alricsson, Landstad, et al. (2008) stated that it is important to make it easy for school children and adolescents to do physical activity at school and during leisure time as this will help to prevent overweight and obesity as well as chronic diseases later in life. Performance in any sport is a result of a multitude of factors, which include the physiological adaptation of the body to training. Fitness testing helps identify most of these physiological components that can be measure and tested. Training from an early age is possible (Sanders, 2002). Children should start resistance training early to develop strong bones and metabolic health. Sanders (2002) supported strength training and impact exercise as key factors in developing strong bones and muscles. Developing strong bones during childhood is important because peak bone mass occurs in most people before they are 20 years old. Gardiner (2004) confirmed that young children can practice plyometric training and exercise to develop muscles and motor skills, but proper supervision is required. Examples of appropriate plyometric drills for children include the hexagonal drill, tuck jumps, and standing long jump. People need encouragement and motivation to begin and maintain healthy lifestyles. Keresztes, Piko, et al. (2008) studied the role of social influences on leisure time sports activity. They concluded that significant others influence sport-related behaviors. During early adolescence sports participation in girls is particularly influenced by the social influence of peers such as friends and classmates. Fitness programs should build on possible social influences and consider the importance of peers, parents and friends in promoting physical activity in adolescents.

7 Fitness testing helps people understand their fitness status and provides intrinsic motivation to improve. Nutbeam and Catford (1985) studied the effectiveness of a fitness-testing program as a trigger to increase exercise participation. Their study included 300 adult volunteers, which included male and females of all ages. Subjects were given dietary advice from trained dieticians. People with the lowest initial fitness levels tended to increase the most. The study showed that physical fitness testing is a helpful trigger to increase physical activity in males and females. Olds and Tomkinson (2003) developed fitness tests for Southern Australian children aged 9-12 years. The researchers provided norms, recent trends in aerobic fitness, and performance comparisons between Southern Australian children with children from other countries. Adolescents' age 12-15 years were tested using the 20m shuttle run test with one-minute stages (20m SRT). Australian children were ranked 15' out of 34 when compared to children in 33 other countries. The researchers observed a decline in aerobic fitness in Australian children and a need for systematic, standardized monitoring of their aerobic fitness. Dennison et al (1998) investigated 453 young men age 23-25 yrs, childhood determinants of adult physical activity were compared to their physical test scores as children 15-18 yrs. The risk of physical inactivity in the young adult was significantly related to low scores on the 548.6m (600 yd) run and sit-ups tests in children. In a stepwise multivariate discriminate analysis the childhood 548.6m run scores was the best discriminator between currently physically active and inactive adults. These researchers concluded that physical fitness testing in boys facilitates the identification of those at risk of becoming physically inactive as young adults.

8 Tomkinson et al (2003) did a meta-analysis that combined data from 55 studies conducted between 1981-2001 on 20m shuttle run (20m SRT) performance in children and adolescents. Raw data were combined with pseudo data generated from reported means and standard deviations using Monte Carlo simulator and linear regression was used to calculate rates of change. This was done for 11 developed countries representing a total of 129,882 children. The researchers concluded 20m SRT performances of children declined during the past 20 years. Rate of decline has no relation to country wealth or gross domestic product (GDP). Tim Gabbett et al (2007) studied 28 junior volleyball players to find out whether physiological, anthropometrics, and skill test results could discriminate between junior volleyball players of varying ability. The result of this study demonstrated that skilled test result discriminate between successful and unsuccessful talent-identified junior volleyball players. Physical performance, particularly sprinting speed, is complex. It involves the capacity to use strength and power to improve performance. Researchers and sport administrators need to understand the fitness parameters of population in order scientifically design training programs. Fahey (2001), in a review of literature, examined the factors important for improving of performance in high-power athletes. Coaches should consider four elements when developing performance in power athletes: muscle hypertrophy, neuromuscular activation, stretch-shortening cycle and skill. Training must be progressive and structured to maximize tension during workouts and that small improvements in technique can often lead to large gain in power output.

By age 15 years most children in Sierra Leone can read and write English. However the national literacy rate for the total population in Sierra Leone is 31.4%. (Statistic Sierra Leone, 2009) This study examined the fitness parameter of 14-17 year old children in Sierra Leone. Fitness testing is valuable for understanding future physical activity levels in children. These data might serve as the basis for physical fitness norms for young people in Sierra Leone. Statement of Problem The purpose of this study was to establish physical fitness norms for 14-17 year old children from Sierra Leone. There is no national fitness-testing program or physical fitness norms in Sierra Leone. Fitness norms developed in economically developed countries in the North America, Europe, and Asia, are probably not appropriate in Sierra Leone because of the country's unique history, environment, lifestyle, and economic conditions. The lack of fitness norms prevents the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth and Sport from assessing the fitness status of young people in Sierra Leone. These agencies need data to establish physical activity goals for the Nation and help them promote physical fitness in the general population. Sub Problems 1. Develop a fitness testing Instrument for Sierra Leone. 2. Obtain permission from the subjects. 3. Obtain permission from the Government and the National Olympic Committee.

10 Research Question The researcher developed the following research questions for the study. 1. Will it be possible to establish norms and standards for fitness tests that may help identify those at risk of becoming sedentary as adults and those with athletic potential? 2. What are the physical fitness characteristics of boys and girls aged 14 to 17 years of age living in Sierra Leone? 3. Will there be age and gender differences in fitness among school-aged children in Sierra Leone? Definition of Terms The following terms were defined for the purpose of this research. Athlete: Someone who has declared an interest in competing in sport. Motor learning: in this study refers to various practices or experience that leads to relatively permanent changes in the capability for skillful performance. Resistance training: A force applied against a resistance with the purpose of improving strength, power, and muscle mass. Specificity: The body adapts in a unique way to various physical stresses and motor practice. Strength: The ability to exert force. Strength training: The use of different progressive resistance exercise methods designed to increase the capacity to exert muscular force against resistance

11 Velocity resistance training: Training using include the use of equipment or equipments that provides some form of resistance to the force applied while compromising the velocity of movement throughout a range of motion. Velocity: Speed in a given direction. Sprinters: Subjects who train and compete in sprint events of 400m or less. Starting velocity: The acceleration or terminal velocity from the crouched position (start) to the point where the subject assumes an erect running position Scope of the Study This study was conducted in Sierra Leone and the researcher had the full cooperation of national organizations such as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone. The subjects were taken from a stratified random sample of children from the territory of Sierra Leone in West Africa ages 14-17 years. This research fitness testing battery was chosen based upon the scientific literatures and existing tests. These tests are the YMCA fitness test, the USA Presidential fitness test, fitness gram and the AAPHERD. The research tests were certified by a panel of experts and included the 20-meter shuttle run, push-ups, pull-ups, (right) side bridge, (right and left sides), 40-meter sprint, static abdominal test, and 12- minute run. Delimitations The delimitations for the study were: 1. The results of this study were delimited to male and female children age 14-17 years from Sierra Leone.

12 2. The study established physical fitness norms for 14-17 year old children from Sierra Leone. Limitations The following limitations for the study were: 1. The researcher was not able to control the environmental temperature in Sierra Leone. The norms were established in field conditions, so they did not have the stringent controls possible in the laboratory. However, every effort was taken to insure that the tests were conducted consistently and according to the prescribed methods. 2. The research assistance were given a test run and did a one day practical pilot run with the researcher in order to maintain consistency and accuracy in the execution of the test with the researcher. Assumptions The following assumptions for the study were: 1. The researcher assumed the subjects cooperated fully and performed maximally on all tests. 2. The researcher assumed that all the participants fully understand the instructions given by the researcher and answered all questions truthfully. Significance of Study This study established baseline fitness measurements for children in Sierra Leone that will be useful for researchers, the Sierra Leone National Olympic Committees, and Ministry of Health and Physical Education. It will help coaches and administrators

13 understand the fitness characteristics of children in Sierra Leone and may serve as a catalyst for development of sports programs and health promotion in the nation. Studies conducted in other countries have helped provide guidelines for present work in Sierra Leone. In Australia, Evan (2003) studied the role of physical education in the schools and methods for improving it. The study concluded that the health problems faced by Australian school children are due to marginal physical activities in the school curriculum. Improving teachers training and improvement of the school physical education program helps to improve the health of the nation's children. Keating (2003) examined the youth fitness testing programs in the United States that included the Fitness-gram, President's Challenge, and the YMCA Youth Testing programs and provided an in-depth look at the efficacy of youth fitness test batteries in improving students' health related fitness. The researcher concluded that researchers should select and develop more efficient testing items in each of the existing testing program. These norms will serve as a basis for assessing physical fitness in children living in Sierra Leone and will be an historical record of the fitness characteristics at this time in the nation's history. They might also be useful for assessing children in other underdeveloped countries.

14 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Fitness testing programs have been part of training development in sport for many years. However, athletic recruitment and identification in Sierra Leone has been unsystematic and imprecise. Also, fitness testing is important in the overall health evaluation of the population and individuals. This study was designed to establish physical fitness tests and norms for 14-17 year old children from Sierra Leone. This chapter examined the relevant literature on physical activity, lifestyle, obesity, strength, velocity resistance and specific strength, predictive tests for athletic performance and fitness. Physical Activity Regular physical activity is perhaps the most important lifestyle habit promoting health and well being (Haskell, et al 2007). Physical activity is the movement of the body resulting in the expenditure of energy. Joint recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association (Haskell, et al 2007 pg 5) concluded: "To promote and maintain health, all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 yr need moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days each week. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation. For example, a person can meet the recommendation by walking briskly for 30 min twice during the week and then jogging for 20 min on two other days. Moderate- intensity aerobic activity, which is generally equivalent to a brisk walk and noticeably accelerates the heart rate, can be accumulated toward the 30-min minimum by performing bouts each lasting 10 or more minutes. Vigorous- intensity activity is exemplified by jogging, and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate. In addition, every adult should perform activities

15 that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance a minimum of two days each week. Because of the dose-response relation between physical activity and health, persons who wish to further improve their personal fitness, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and disabilities or prevent unhealthy weight gain may benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amounts of physical activity." Graf et al (2004) confirmed that overweight/obesity is associated with a poorer body gross motor development and endurance performance. On the other hand, an active lifestyle is positively correlated with a better gross motor development in children. Therefore, early intervention to support exercise and movement is recommended to prevent the negative consequences of physical inactivity and overweight and obesity. Annesi et al (2005) addressed the effects of increased physical activity in African- American elementary school children. More than 500 children (age 5-12-year-old girls (n = 226) and boys (n = 344) participated in al 2-week physical activity program at 14 YMCA after-schools care sites. The 3 time per week, 45-min session program included cardiovascular, resistance, flexibility training, and behavioral skills. After factoring out the effects of growth, children showed improvements in body composition, strength, and endurance. Measuring physical fitness in sedentary people is important because they are at increased risk of developing obesity and health problems. Biddle et al (2004) examined the effects of sedentary lifestyles on the health of young people through project STIL (Sedentary Teenagers and Inactive Lifestyles) at Loughborough University in Great Britain. The preliminary findings from Project STIL suggest that inactivity is more complex than we sometimes think. Indeed, measures of 'couch potato-ism', such as TV viewing, may be inappropriate markers of inactivity. Sleap et al (2007) examined the

Full document contains 124 pages
Abstract: This dissertation measured physical fitness in 884 boys and girls age 14-17 years old living in Sierra Leone. The test battery was designed to measure the major components of fitness for sports performance and health. The fitness tests included the 20m shuttle run, push-ups, side bridge (left and right), 40m sprint, static abdominal hold, 12 minute run, and pull ups. In the 20-m shuttle run, the average time varied between 7.19 to 8.05 seconds in boys and 7.72 to 8.58 seconds in girls (mean age-groups values). Push-ups varied between 20.3 and 42.2 repetitions in boys and 19.2 to 30.7 in girls. Side-bridge endurance (right and left) varied between 67.8 seconds to 134.1 seconds in boys and 58.7 to 110.7 seconds in girls. The 40-meter dash times varied between 5.74 to 6.12 seconds in boys and 6.63 to 7.06 seconds in girls. Static abdominal endurance time varied between 93.4 to 142.6 seconds in boys and 104.7 to 142.4 seconds in girls. Boys ran between 1883.3 to 2145.3 meters in the 12-minute run test and girls ran 1548.5 to 1904.6 meters. In pull-ups, boys performed between 8.6 to 10.9 repetitions and girls between 4.8 and 6.4 repetitions. The norms established in this study will serve as the basis for a national physical fitness testing program in Sierra Leone. The norms will be modified as we test more students. They will be used to help measure health and fitness in school children and identify children with athletic talent who night benefit for specialized training.