Physical fitness and weight status of Grade One children in Cape Town, South Africa

Odelia van Stryp, Eileen Africa, Michael J. Duncan

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Physical fitness and weight in young children are important indicators of health status. Literature has shown that fatness and physical fitness are highly intertwined; considering the two together is important as they influence each other. The aim of this study was to investigate the physical fitness levels and weight status of Grade 1 children (N=184) from two schools in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as differences in physical fitness and weight between boys and girls. A quantitative study design was applied. Physical fitness skills were evaluated by measuring five components: cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. Children’s height and mass were measured to determine their Body Mass Index (BMI) and the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) cut-offs were used to establish under-and overweight classifications of the children. Boys performed better than girls in the standing broad jump, shuttle run and throwing, whereas girls performed better in the flexibility test. Of the children, 84% were classified as normal weight, 11% were overweight and 5% were obese. The children in this study were relatively fit compared with children in other provinces in South Africa; however, their fitness levels can still be significantly improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages11
JournalSouth African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  • Body mass index
  • Physical fitness
  • Physically active
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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