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Journal Article


Somboonwong J, Sanguanrungsirikul S, Pitayanon C. BMJ Open 2012; 2(4): online.


Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.


(Copyright © 2012, BMJ Publishing Group)






OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine thermoregulatory and cardiovascular responses as well as the occurrence of heat illness in children exercising outdoors in physical education class under hot and humid climate. Little information regarding this issue under real-life situation is available, especially in the Southeast Asia. DESIGN: Analytical, prospective descriptive study. SETTING: A primary school in Bangkok, Thailand. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 457 schoolboys (aged 5.5-12 years) were observed while exercising outdoors during their physical education classes throughout the academic year of 2009, including semester 1 (between July and September 2009) and semester 2 (between November 2009 and February 2010). PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measure was tympanic temperature. Secondary outcome measures included blood pressure, heart rate, hydration status and the occurrence of heat-related illness. RESULTS: Outdoor physical activity consisted of skill practice (duration 24.11±11.04 min, intensity <3 metabolic equivalent of tasks) and playing sports (duration 11.48±5.53 min, intensity 2.6-8.8 metabolic equivalent of tasks). After exercise, tympanic temperature increased by 0.66±0.41°C. There were 20 (4.4%) students whose ear temperature exceeded 38°C, 18 of whom did not consume water. The RR of increasing body temperature up to 38°C in overweight students was 2.1-fold higher than normal-weight students. The per cent change in mean arterial pressure and heart rate increased by 20.16±15.34% and 23.94±19.78%, respectively. Sweat and dehydration rates were 391.16±186.75 ml/h and 0.63±0.26%, respectively. No evidence of heat illness was found. Wet bulb globe temperatures of semesters 1 and 2 were 29.95±1.87°C and 28.32±2.39°C, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: There is an increased risk for heat illness during outdoor activities in physical education class in primary school children, especially those who are overweight and have poor hydration status.

Language: en


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