Resaarch in Kinesiology
Federation of the Sports Pedagogues of the
Republic of Macedonia
Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 146-149
BODY POSTURE IN YOUNG SCHOOLCHILDREN IN A
NOVI SAD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
(Original scientific paper)
Branka Protić-Gava, Tijana Šćepanović, Maja Batez
University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sport and Physical Education,
Novi Sad, Serbia
Abstract
The research represents a cross-sectional study and was carried out with the aim to establish the
incidence of postural disorders in young schoolchildren, as well as to determine any potential gender-based
difference. The research was carried out on the first-graders at the Elementary School “Ivo Lola Ribar”
from Novi Sad (61), aged 8.52. Body posture was assessed visually using the modified method of Napoleon
Wolanski. By means of cross tabulation the absolute and relative value frequencies were determined, while
testing of differences was done applying the χ2 test at the inference level of р≤0.05. According to the results,
in the total sample of respondents, lordotic posture prevailed as the most common one – 41% with minor
deviations and 13.1% with major deviations. Flat feet are the most frequent postural disorder of lower
extremities when total sample of respondents is concerned (78.7%). Given all the results of the research,
we may conclude that in the observed sample of respondents, postural disorders of all body segments were
diagnosed, but the milder ones prevail. This implies the need for early inclusion of children in different forms
of physical activities in order to prevent postural disorders.
Keywords: children of the first grade of elementary school, male, female, kyphotic posture,
lordotic posture, kypholordotic posture, right thoracic scoliosis, Funnel/sunken chest, flat feet,
percent, χ2-test
INTRODUCTION
Common postural disorders of the locomotor apparatus (milder form) in young schoolchildren are studied
and discussed in numerous researches (Vuković, 1999;
Medojević & Jakšić, 2007; Bogdanović & Milenković,
2008; Protić-Gava, 2008; Protić-Gava & Romanov,
2008a; Protić-Gava & Romanov, 2008b; Đokić &
Stojanović, 2010; Protić-Gava, Krsmanović, Jevtić,
Kadović, & Romanov, 2009b; Durutović - Mozetić, et
al., Đurić, Kaurin - Miletić, Stanković, & Marić, (2012).
In most cases, the disorder is in its early functional stage
(Sabo, 2006) with no changes in the skeletal system and
therefore, early inclusion of children in different forms
of physical activities or programmed corrective work is
highly indicative (Protić-Gava, Krneta, Bošković, Romanov, 2010).
The researches on the incidence of postural disorders reveal multiple deviations of locomotor apparatus
in young schoolchildren (Protić-Gava, et al., Bošković,
Krsmanović, Romanov, 2009a), but the differences related to gender dimorphism were observed at the age
from 9 to 10 (Medojević & Jakšić, 2007). The authors
explain this phenomenon by the fact that girls enter puberty at this age, which is the period when they are more
prone to certain postural disorders. The differences in
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postural disorders between boys and girls also occur between 11 and 13 years of age, which is accounted for
by the fact that this is the period when girls finish going
through puberty, while boys reach it at this point.
The object of this paper is the analysis of body
posture in young schoolchildren with the aim of establishing the incidence of postural disorders, the most
common postural disorder among the observed population, as well as the possible gender-dimorphism-related
difference.
METHODS
The research represents a cross-sectional study.
It was carried out on 61 respondents of male (35) and
female (28) gender, all of them young schoolchildren
at the Elementary School “Ivo Lola Ribar” from Novi
Sad, aged 8.52.
Modified visual method of Napoleon was used in
order to assess body posture. According to this method,
the posture of all body segments is assessed with 0, 1,
1, where good body posture is given 0, minor deviations
are assigned a value of 1 and major deviations a value
of 2.
Body posture was assessed in the coronal and
sagittal planes. In the coronal plane, from the back of
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Protić-Gava, Šćepanović, Batez
the body, a spinal column was observed as a whole,
followed by a thoracolumbar curve. In the chest area,
certain deviations from proper posture were observed to
the left and to the right (left or right thoracic scoliosis),
also in the lumbar part (left or right lumbar scoliosis) or
in the entire spinal column (absolute scoliosis). Compensatory scoliosis also occurs, which denotes a combination of thoracic and lumbar scoliosis (Protić-Gava &
Šćepanović, 2012). Thorax was also observed in the coronal plane and lower extremities in both planes. Body
posture was assessed according to the requirements of a
standard protocol.
The data were processed using the statistical
package SPSS version 17.0. Absolute and relative value
frequencies were established using the cross tabulation,
while testing of differences was done by means of χ2 test
at the inference level of р≤0.05.
bral column. The reason for this is partly to be found
in the decreased physical activities among children
(Đorđić, 2007), carrying “overloaded” school bags, but
also in prolonged improper sitting in inadequate conditions and at inadequate school desks Rocha de Siqueira, Bezerra de Oliveira, & Guerra Vieira, 2008; Protić
- Gava, 2009; Cranz, 2000).
The results of our research imply the increasingly
more common kyphotic posture in boys (15.2% - minor
deviations and 6.1%, major deviations from proper posture) when compared to girls (7.1% - minor and 3.6%
- major deviations from proper posture), but with the
difference not being statistically significant (χ2=1.237;
р=0.539), which coincides with the results of the research conducted by Jovović & Čanjak (2006). The indicator of kyphotic posture is the occurrence of winged
scapula in schoolchildren in the town of Nikšić, particularly in boys (74.6%) rather than in girls (43.9%).
Comparing the results of our research with the results of the research Protić - Gava & Romanov (2008), it
is evident that these results also coincide with the results
of our research since there is no statistically significant
difference in the status of thoracic vertebral column in
the sagittal plane between male and female respondents.
Nitzschke & Hildenbrand (1990) noticed a higher incidence of a kyphosis angle of 40° and greater in
the case of boys (15.3%) rather than in the case of girls
(12%) among school population aged between 10 and
17. All the above stated results indicate a higher frequency of kyphotic posture, as well as the occurrence of
kyphosis later in life in boys at a greater percentage rate
and therefore imply the need for a well-timed diagnosis
and inclusion of schoolchildren in organized corrective
work producing positive results (Protić - Gava et al.,
2010).
When lordotic bad posture is concerned, the results of this research coincide with the results of the research done by Protić-Gava (2009), carried out on the
respondents aged 9-10, who underwent a corrective program. Lordotic bad posture occurs more often in female
respondents (61.3%) in comparison to male respondents
(38.7%). However, these differences are also statistically insiginificant (р = 0.724).
The results of another research conducted with
the aim of establishing the frequency of postural disorders in children aged 12-13 related to the body mass index, as well as potential gender-based differences reveal
a greater prevalence of lordotic posture in girls rather
than in boys.
The difference between body posture of boys and
girls in this research is not statistically significant (р =
0.023) at the inference level of р = 0.00, but the percentage of girls with lordotic posture is greater than that of
boys (Protić-Gava, 2008), which coincides with the results of our research.
A better status of the lumbar vertebrae in the sagittal plane is detected in female rather in male respondents, which differs from the results of the researches
RESULTS
Numerical and percentage frequency value of
spinal postural deformities in the sagittal plane based
on the total sample of respondents (kyphotic, lordotic
and kypholordotic posture, flat back posture) is given in
the Table 1. Lordotic posture is the most common spinal sagittal plane deformity, diagnosed in both boys and
girls. However, the difference is not statistically significant (χ2=1.704, р=0.426).
The research results regarding spinal posture in
the coronal plane (thoracic, lumbar and absolute scoliosis) are given in the Table 2. Right thoracic scoliosis was
observed in 27.9% of respondents from the total sample,
21.3% of which in milder form (value 1) and 6.6% in
a more severe form (value 2). This is the most common spinal deformity in the frontal plane in the studied
population diagnosed in the respondents of both sexes,
with the difference not being statistically significant
(χ2=4.678; р=0.096).
The Table 3 shows the results of thoracic postural
deformities. Sunken chest (26.4% - 14.8% in a milder
and 1.6% in a more severe form) and flat chest (8.2%)
occur more often in the total sample studied, specifically
in female respondents. The differences related to gender
dimorphism are not statistically significant.
The results referring to postural deformities of
lower extremity disorders (bowlegs and knock knees,
knee hyperextension and flat feet) are given in the Table
4. Both stages of flat feet were diagnosed (value 1 and
2), while other deformities are present only in milder
forms. Flat feet are the most common postural disorder
observed in the respondents of both sexes (59% minor
deviation and 19.7% major deviation from proper posture), in the entire sample studied.
DISCUSSION
Early school age is the period largely considered
critical in terms of proper growth and development of
schoolchildren (Živković, 2000), with an increasing risk
of postural deformities in all the segments of the verte-
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147
Protić-Gava, Šćepanović, Batez
conducted so far (Protić -Gava & Romanov, 2008a).
These results must be interpreted with caution since parameters referring to body mass of the respondents were
left out, and body mass, which was more prominent in
boys of the studied sample, may be one of the indicators
of the occurrence of lordotic posture.
Higher frequency of kypholordotic posture in
boys is evident in our research, but also in other researches, as well (Protić-Gava 2009), indicating greater
occurrence in the case of male respondents (45.5%)
when compared to female respondents (32.2%), but with
the differences not being statistically significant in any
of the researches (р=0.465).
Flat back posture – a postural deficiency characterized with the lack of physiological curvatures of the
spinal column in the sagittal plane, is not that common
in the respondents in the research (Protić-Gava, 2009),
and the results are similar since a greater percentage of
girls (3.5%) rather than boys (0.7%) is diagnosed with
this postural deficiency.
When comparing this research results referring to
postural disorders of the spinal column in the sagittal
plane on the entire sample of respondents with the results of the research done by Medojević & Jakšić (2007),
regardless of the number of the sample respondents, we
may find them to match, since at this age there is no
statistically significant difference in terms of gender dimorphism.
A higher percentage of functional scoliotic changes of the vertebral column increases with age (Đorđić,
2007) and consequently, the highest percentage of scoliotic posture in its milder form is evident in the oldest
preschool children (23.8%). The results of our research
show that in the studied sample the highest percentage
is that of scoliotic posture in its milder form, which is
consistent with the results of the research conducted by
the mentioned author.
If we compare the results of our research related
to the postural disorders of the spinal column in the coronal (frontal) plane obtained analyzing the entire sample
of respondents, with the results of the research done by
Medojević & Jakšić (2007), we can see they coincide
since at this age there is no statistically significant difference in terms of gender dimorphism, which is accounted
for by the fact that neither boys nor girls have reached
puberty yet at this stage, which in itself is a critical period in terms of growth and development of children
and is often characterized with the occurrence of postural disorders. Furthermore, the results of the research
obtained studying the eight-year-olds from Novi Sad
(Protić - Gava et al., 2010) reveal no statistically significant difference in the status of the spinal column in the
coronal plane in terms of gender dimorphism, which is
consistent with the results of our research.
When postural disorders in the lower extremities are concerned, the results of our research are similar to the results of the research done by Bogdanović
& Koničanin (2009), where the prevalence of the knock
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knees condition over the bowleggedness is observed.
However, the results are not consistent in terms of
gender-based frequency of disorders. In the above mentioned research, a greater percentage of girls were observed to have knock knees, while bowleggedness was
observed in greater percentage of boys, which is not
consistent with our research. The inconsistency of the
results can be accounted for by the differences in size
and age category of the studied respondents due to the
lack of researches related to the same age category.
The results obtained in this research in terms of
the frequency of flat feet related to gender dimorphism
differ from the results of the research done by Protić Gava & Romanov (2008), where male respondents with
minor deviations from good posture were observed in a
greater number than it was the case with female respondents.
CONCLUSION
The researches related to the postural disorders
of younger schoolchildren reveal their frequency in all
body segments. Most researchers agree that the most
common causes of bad posture in children are hypokinesia (Đorđić, 2007), prolonged poor body position, inadequate school furniture (Protić-Gava, 2009) etc. In addition, they agree that early diagnosis of postural disorders along with early inclusion of children in organized,
well-programmed physical activities can produce good
results with positive effects (Protić - Gava et al., 2010).
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Corespondence:
Branka Protić-Gava
University of Novi Sad
Faculty of Sport and Physical Education
Str. Lovčenska 16, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
E-mail: [email protected]
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body posture in young schoolchildren in a novi sad elementary school