Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence and the main risk factors of poor posture in school children in the Czech Republic.
Methods: The cross-sectional study examined representative sample of children aged 7, 11, and 15 years in the year 2003. From the overall number of 3600 children, 3520 (97.7%) attended and were examined in preventive checkups. Data were obtained from medical examinations and from screening questionnaires.
Results: Poor posture was diagnosed in 38.3% children, more frequently in boys. A significantly different occurrence of poor posture was found between 7-year-old and 11-year-old children (33.0% and 40.8%, respectively). The most frequently detected defects were as follows: protruding scapulae (50% of all children), increased lumbar lordosis (32%), and round back (31%). Children with poor posture reported headache and pain in the cervical and lumbar spine more frequently. A total of 14% of children had body mass index levels over the 90th percentile, and the occurrence of poor posture was significantly less likely. On average, children spent 4 hours weekly performing sports activities and 14 hours weekly watching TV/VCR and playing computer games. No sports activities were reported by 20% of children, and these children had a significantly higher probability of poor posture than children performing sports.
Conclusions: The results of our study can be used as an evidence with officials in the area of prevention, to support efforts to improve the health of our school children and to reduce the risk of postural damage to children's health.