Factors associated with physical activity in South Africa: evidence from a national population based survey

SOURCE: The Open Public Health Journal
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Mlangeni, L.Makola, I.Naidoo, B.Chibi, Z.Sokhela, ZMSilimfe, M.Mabaso
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10703
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/13350

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The health benefits of regular physical activity and exercise have been widely acknowledged. Yet physical inactivity remains an issue in South Africa. This study examines factors associated with physical activity amongst South Africans. This analysis used the 2012 nationally representative population-based household survey conducted using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design. Multinomial bivariate and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine whether physical activity is significantly influenced by socio-demographic and lifestyle related characteristics. Out of 26339 individuals, 57.4 % (CI: 55.9-59) were not physically active, 14.8 % (CI: 13.6-16) were moderately physically active, and 27.8 % (CI: 26.6-29.1) were vigorously physically active. Relative to those who reported physical inactivity, having higher education and being of a higher socioeconomic status increased the likelihood of engaging in moderate physical activity. Increasing age, being female, and living in informal settlements decreased the likelihood of engaging in moderate physical activity. Increasing age, being female, being married, being from rural formal settlements, and having poorer self-rated health reduced the likelihood of engaging in vigorous physical activity. The findings suggest that there is a need for health promotion efforts targeting particular groups from selected socio-demographic strata including unhealthy individuals and those from disadvantaged communities.