Physical activity and sedentary behaviour of primary school learners in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa

Howard Gomwe, Eunice Seekoe, Philemon Lyoka, Chioneso S. Marange, Dennyford Mafa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND:  This study was designed to assess physical activity (PA) levels and sedentary behaviour amongst primary school learners in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. METHODS:  A cross-sectional study was adopted to assess the patterns and levels of PA and sedentary behaviour using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C). The sample consisted of primary school learners, both boys and girls, aged 9-14 years. The learners were randomly selected from rural, urban and peri-urban areas in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. RESULTS:  Using a complete case analysis, 870 randomly selected participants (boys = 351 and girls = 519) aged 9-14 years were retained. Overall, the sample had a low mean PAQ-C score of 2.33 ± 0.43. The mean of PA in boys was significantly higher (p = 0.003) in comparison with the girls. The 13- to 14-age group had significantly higher PA levels (p = 0.014). Learners from urban areas (n = 136; 77.3%) engaged more in sedentary behaviour compared to those from rural areas (n = 252; 54.9%). CONCLUSION:  The findings demonstrated low levels of PA and high engagement of sedentary behaviour across the combined gender groups, which have negative implications on health, growth and development of children. The study, therefore, recommends relevant stakeholders to implement interventions aimed at promoting an increase in PA and a reduction in sedentary behaviours for primary school learners in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
JournalSouth African family practice : official journal of the South African Academy of Family Practice/Primary Care
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • children
  • learners
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour
  • South Africa

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