Participation in physical activity and its implications on health behaviour of primary schools’ pupils in Westlands City County, Nairobi, Kenya
Physical activity is a well-established element of the public health agenda that has received increasing attention in recent years. Despite the guidelines and the well-recognized benefits of regular physical activity, there is evidence that a large number of people is still reported to be inactive. The main purpose of this study was to find out the factors influencing physical activity behaviour of primary school pupils in Westlands constituency, Nairobi County. The study was guided by the following objectives: to determine knowledge on the recommended levels of physical activity; to find out the factors influencing participation in physical activity and to give suggestions on ways of increasing participation in physical activity and health behaviour change. To achieve the study objectives, this study adopted descriptive research design. The study further included qualitative approach to collect data, using interview schedules, Focussed Group Discussions and observation schedules as the research instruments. This study was conducted in 4 primary schools in Westlands constituency, Nairobi County. The sample of pupils was 80 while that of teachers was 8 making a total of 88 informants. Further, this study was précised on Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA). A pilot study was conducted in determination of validity and reliability of the research instruments before the commencement of the actual study. Qualitative data on knowledge of PA, factors influencing participation in PA and the suggestions of pupils and teachers on how PA should be increased were analyzed qualitatively. Major findings of this study indicate that participation in PA was influenced by individual factors (e.g. perceived enjoyment, attitude, and interest), their social networks (e.g. social support, parental control, peer influence, lack of role models) and physical environment (e.g. nature, media influence, availability and accessibility). It was concluded that pupils’ health behaviour is influenced majorly by the physical (school curriculum) and social environment (parental control). It was recommended that a physical activity programme that emphasizes enjoyable participation in PA will be part of an increased active participation in pupils. Emphasis should be placed on pupils to develop knowledge, attitudes and confidence to develop and maintain active lifestyles.
- OGR-School of Education