Background Oxygen is vital for all bodily functions. Larger the vital capacity, more efficiently the body can distribute oxygen. A survey observed that more than a third of school children in four big cities of India suffer from reduced lung capacity, with Delhi showing the worst results. Poor air quality has been implicated for it.
Objectives With the hypothesis that playing sports and developing hobbies like singing could improve vital capacity and ability to tolerate air pollution, we compared the vital capacities of athletes, singers, and other students of 13–14 years with the objective of correlating the effect of exercise and singing on the pulmonary functions.
Methods The study was conducted over a period of 3 months in Springdales school on a sample size of 60 students divided in 3 groups of 20. Equal numbers of boys and girls of same age group were taken. Vital capacity of following groups was measured by Student’s spirometer
Group A: athletes who have been actively participating in sports over the last one year,
Group S : singers who have been a part of the school choir over the last one year,
Group Non AS non-athletes, non singers.
After taking Informed consent and brief history, weight, height and vital capacity were measured. Quantitative variables were compared using unpaired t-test/Mann-Whitney Test and qualitative variables using Chi-Square test/Fisher’s exact test. Univariate linear regression was used to identify significant factors affecting lung capacity. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results Anthropometric data was matched with spirometric parameter. Athletes (3452.5±696.7 cm3) and singers (3015±346.83 cm3) had significantly higher vital capacity than the control group (2625±543.74 cm3). The vital capacities of athletes and singers were also significantly different. Non-athletes non-singers had a significantly higher body mass index (23.87±2.35 kg/m2) as compared to athletes (20.66±1.52 kg/m2) and singers (22.6±1.84 kg/m2). Univariate linear regression demonstrated that male gender and height significantly affected lung capacity.
Conclusions In conclusion, encouraging regular exercise and singing in children improve vital capacity. Children are most susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution. Opting for a healthy lifestyle may be an effective strategy to deal with the menace of air pollution.
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