Stunting does not impair physical fitness in Indonesian school children

Keywords: stunting, standing long jump, handgrip strength, SEPE, frame index



Physical fitness is decreased in malnourished children and adults. Poor appearance and muscular flaccidity are among the first signs of malnutrition. Malnutrition is often associated with stunting.


We test the hypotheses that stunted children of low social strata are physically less fit than children of high social strata.


We investigated 354 school girls and 369 school boys aged 5.83 to 13.83 (mean 9.54) years from three different social strata in Kupang (West-Timor, Indonesia) in 2020.


We measured height, weight, and elbow breadth, calculated standard deviation (SDS) of height and weight according to CDC references, and the Frame index as an indicator of long-term physical fitness, and we tested physical fitness in standing long jump and hand grip strength.


Children of low social strata are physically fittest. They jump longer distances, and they have higher values in the Frame index. No association exists between height SDS and physical fitness, neither in respect to standing long jump, nor to hand grip strength.


Stunting does not impair physical fitness in Indonesian school children. Our results support the concept that SEPE (social-economic-political-emotional) factors are involved in the regulation of human growth.


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How to Cite
Scheffler, C., & Hermanussen, M. (2021). Stunting does not impair physical fitness in Indonesian school children. Human Biology and Public Health, 2.