Physical Activity, Gender, Socio-Economic Status and Diet of Students in Private Boarding Secondary Schools in Uasin-Gishu County, Kenya
Rotich Jepkorir Noelle, Jepkorir Noelle
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Physical activity is crucial to an individual’s health at all stages of life. Regular physical activity provides numerous health related benefits to adolescents. A person’s gender, socio-economic status (SES) and dietary habits may influence participation in physical activity. This study, therefore, sought to assess physical activity and its association with factors such as gender, SES and diet among the students aged 14 to 18 years in private boarding schools within Uasin-Gishu County, Kenya. The dependent variable examined was participation in physical activity, whereas the independent variables were gender, socio-economic status, and diet. The study used the cross-sectional research design. The study’s target population were the 936 students registered in private boarding schools in Uasin-Gishu County. The Fisher’s formula was used to determine the sample size. Stratified sampling procedure was used to select the schools. Random sampling was then used to select the 196 participating sample. The Physical Activity Questionnaire for adolescents (PAQ-A) and diet questionnaire was used to collect data from the participants. Data on Socio-Economic Status and diet was obtained using SES and diet questionnaires. Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) software version 22.0 was used in coding and analysing the collected data. The reliability of the instrument was determined using the Cronbach’s reliability coefficient. With a score of 0.7 , the instrument was deemed reliable. Descriptive statistics such as standard deviations, frequencies and percentages were used to obtain descriptive results. Pearson’s correlation analysis was used to test the relationships between variables. The level of significance was set at 0.05. Results revealed that the parents’ socio-economic status has no influence (r =.009, p=0.903) on the students’ level of participation in physical activity. The results showed that gender has a significant effect (r = .204, p =0.007) on the level of participation in physical activity. The study also established that the students’ diet has an influence (r = .546, p=0.208) on their participation in physical activity. The results of the study suggest that private boarding schools need to prioritize policies that promote PA among adolescents in schools. There is special need to increase physical activity, especially among girls because cultural and particular gender norms prevent them from participating in PA.