Physical growth and body composition of students from distinct ethnic background of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil

Ilca Maria Saldanha Diniz, Adair da Silva Lopes, Adriano Ferreti Borgatto


The objective of this study was to analyze physical growth and body composition variables of students from German, Italian and Polish ethnic groups resident in the Northwest of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. The sample was composed of 1428 students (696 males and 732 females). The descriptive statistical methods ANOVA, the Tukey test (p≤ 0.05) and the chi-square test (χ2) were used to analyze the data. Differences were observed in the heights of girls aged up to 9 years, with the Polish group being shorter, and, up to 15 years, for both the Polish and German groups, when compared with the group of Italians. In terms of body mass, there were differences up to 14 years (males) and up to 9 years (females), with the Polish schoolchildren having lowest mass. The German schoolchildren had the highest body fat percentage at 12 years (males) while at 15 years (females), the Polish children had higher body fat percentage than the other ethnic groups (p≤ 0.05). The Polish children exhibited inferior lean body mass (p≤ 0.05) at 14 years (males) and at 9 years (females). The prevalence rates of obesity, for males and females respectively, were 11.1% and 16.2% among the German schoolchildren, 6.6% and 19.4% among the Italians and 7.1% and 16.2% among the Polish. In general, few differences were detected between the ethnic groups, either in terms of physical growth or in terms of body composition. The Polish schoolchildren tended to exhibit inferior results to the Germans and Italians.


Crescimento; Composição corporal; Grupos étnicos; Escolares. <p> Growth; Body composition; Ethnic groups; Students.


The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.