A health-related fitness profile of socioeconomically disadvantaged African American youth aged 10--16 in south Mississippi

Larry Donnell Proctor

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to measure and describe specific health-related fitness components of 244 socio-economically disadvantaged African American Youth (AAY) ages 10 to 16, in terms of how they compare to the general population as measured by the criterion-referenced fitness standards of the FITNESSGRAM, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Guidelines, Healthy People 2010, and Fahey, Insel, and Roth, 1999. Variables of interest include resting heart rate (RHR), 2-minute exercise heart rate (2EHR), 3-minute exercise heart rate (3EHR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), pulmonary function (%FEV1), sit-ups (SU), modified pull ups (MPU), flexibility (FLX), percent body fat (%BF), body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL), total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein ratio (TC/HDI,), and blood glucose (BG). Few investigations have been conducted on the health and fitness trends of socioeconomically disadvantaged African American youth. Descriptive analysis of the male and female populations revealed concern in the areas of resting as well as 2- and 3-minute exercise heart rates, % body fat, MBI, WHR, upper body and abdominal muscular endurance, and blood glucose. The level of concern was set at 25% or greater for each gender population being measured. The range was between 25% to 71% on the measured variables for both gender groups. In conclusion, the social class profiled in this study and defined by Low-Socioeconomic Status (SES) appears to exhibit early warning signs on the health-related fitness variables described above. Based on these findings, it is recommended that intervention strategies for this population be designed to address the negative trends reported in this investigation.