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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

WALTER, Cheryl M.; DU RANDT, Rosa  and  VENTER, Daniel J.L.. The physical activity and health status of two generations of Black South African professional women. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 1-9. ISSN 1025-9848.

Increased health risks associated with physical inactivity in the Black population have been reported in recent years. Black women, suffering the highest levels of inactivity, overweight and obesity, are at greatest risk of developing chronic diseases of lifestyle. This explorative-descriptive study investigated the physical activity patterns and health status of two generations of Black professional women, reflecting pre-democracy and post-democracy age groups. Quantitative measures were used, including the ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer, the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile. Sample groups comprised teachers, nurses, social workers and public sector managers. Participants aged between 35 and 45 years were allocated to the older generation group (n = 111), whilst those aged between 18 and 21 years (students in the mentioned professional fields) were allocated to the younger generation group (n = 69). The results indicated that these women displayed lower levels of health-promoting behavioural practices than expected, significantly lower levels of physical activity and significantly higher levels of overweight and obesity than the South African norms. The observation that the younger group appeared to be replicating the patterns of the older women is a cause of concern. Greater compliance to health-promoting behaviours was expected in this group owing to participants' professional involvement in health, education and social development fields. Wide-ranging initiatives are necessary to promote physical activity and health amongst the Black female population in South Africa.

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