Evaluation of Children Participation in Physical Activities During Recess in Selected Primary Schools in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Nduru, Angela Wamucii
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There is a global concern that children are insufficiently active to experience health benefits of physical activity (PA). The World Health Organization recommends that children should engage in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) daily, or accumulate at least 12,000 steps a day to achieve health benefits associated with the PA. This study investigated the contribution of recess PA towards alleviating the burden of overweight and obesity among children in Nairobi City County, Kenya, to help form the basis for intervention. The current cross-sectional design study evaluated PA participation using pedometers to count steps accumulated by learners during recess periods in relation to gender and the type of school attended (socioeconomic status) in selected primary schools in Westlands Constituency, Nairobi City County. The participants were grade/class five pupils (N = 262: Male n = 137; 52.3%; Female n = 125; 47.7%). Most of the participants (n = 164; 62.6%) were pupils in public schools compared to those enrolled in private schools (n = 98; 37.4%). Data was collected using belt clip piezo-electric pedometers. The dependent variable was the average steps collected twice a day for three days using a pedometer. The independent variables were the socioeconomic status of schools (represented by private and public schools), gender (male and female) and the duration of recess (short and long). Consent was sort from the pupils, parents, Headteachers, KUERC, NACOSTI and MoE before carrying out the research. Data was analyzed using IBM statistics SPSS version 24. Independent-Samples t-Tests were conducted to test the first two hypotheses associated with the study while the Paired-Samples t-Test was also conducted to test the third hypothesis with the confidence level for the three tests set at alpha = .05. There was no significant difference in mean three-day steps during recess between public and private primary school pupils, t(259.79) = 1.69, p = .09. The mean steps between male and female participants was significant, t(259.50) = 4.85, p = .001. Male pupils (M = 4,775.19, SD = 1,208.88), on average, accumulated more steps compared to female pupils (M = 4,097.29, SD = 1,055.24). The mean steps for short and long recess were significantly different, t(261) = 23.17, p = .001. The participants on average accumulated significantly more steps during long recess (M = 2,708.49, SD = 834.15) compared to short recess (M = 1,743.27, SD = 484.09). The researcher recommends replicating this study in more schools within Nairobi City County to establish whether the results obtained in this study are a true reflection of the whole population (urban schools), conduct a similar study to establish PA participation level during recess in rural public schools, and to evaluate PA participation level during PE lessons, before/after school, and during non-school days to comprehensively evaluate PA trends of Kenya’s school children. Based on the results from this study, the researcher recommends that schools in Westlands Constituency, Nairobi City County should encourage recess time PA since it contributes to 37% of the recommended 12,000 steps per day.