Participation in Different Types of Sports and its Effects on BMI for Healthy Life among Primary School Children Aged 8–13 Years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Ismail Pangani and, Stephen Mabagala


Childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity have been found to affect the performance in school children. This study sought to find out the effects of involvement in different types of sports on BMI among primary school children aged 8–13 years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A cross-sectional analytical research design was used to study overweight and obesity in primary schools in Dar es Salaam. The target population was 150,000 children aged 8–13 years. Stratified random and quota sampling were used to select 1,781 children. Weight and height were taken for BMI which was then subjected to WHO-BMI for-age-and-gender percentile rank standards to determine health status. It was found that, there was statistically significant difference in the mean BMI scores between children who reported to participate in sports and those who reported not to do so at p = 0.027. Children who participated in football, cricket and netball had significantly lower mean BMI than those who participated in sports such as swimming, chess, tennis and table tennis at p = 0.001. There was a statistically significant difference in mean BMI scores amongst children who reported different frequencies of PE classes at (p = 0.001). It was also revealed that, children who were involved in sports/physical activity that lasted for at least 20 minutes during after-school hours had relatively lower mean BMI than those who had no time for sporting after school. It was concluded that, for a healthy BMI, children should be involved in high intensity physical activity sports and be allowed to participate in after-school physical activities.

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