Document Type : Research Article (s)


1 Physiology and Medicine of Physical Activities and Sports Unit, Faculty of Sciences, University of Douala, Cameroon

2 Department of Human and Social Sciences Applied to Physical Activities and Sports, National Institute of Youth and Sports, Yaoundé, Cameroon

3 Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala, Cameroon

4 INSERM, UMR 1059, SAINBIOSE, Jean Monnet University, Saint Etienne, France

5 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon


Background: Physical fitness in Cameroonian students has been assessed previously, but most have focused on urban areas. This study aimed to objectively evaluate two components of physical fitness and factors associated with it among urban and semiurban secondary school students in two municipalities in the Littoral province, Cameroon.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between January and April 2021 in three randomly selected secondary schools in the Littoral Province. The study included 459 students aged 10 to 15 years, comprising 252 students from urban areas (UA) and 207 from semi-urban areas (SUA). Each student’s height, weight, and blood pressure were assessed, and two field tests (20-m shuttle test and 4x10-m test) were performed to estimate maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and measure agility. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis.
Results: The overall prevalence of overweight/obesity was 21.4%, with a higher prevalence of overweight/obesity among boys in semi-urban areas and an equal prevalence of overweight among urban and semi-urban girls. SUA students performed significantly better in the speed test (4x10-m) and VO2max (P<0.001 and P=0.01, respectively) compared to UA students. A comparison of age groups [ (10-12 yrs) and (13-15 yrs)] showed no significant difference in VO2max values between urban and semi-urban dwellers (P=0.06 and P=0.29, respectively). VO2max values were above the threshold values associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Conclusions: Urban students were less physically active than semi-urban students, but the prevalence of overweight/obesity was similar in both settings.