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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.16 n.1 Cape Town  2011




The physical activity and health status of two generations of Black South African professional women



Cheryl M. WalterI; Rosa du RandtI; Daniel J.L. VenterII

IDepartment of Human Movement Science, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
IIUnit for Statistical Consultation, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa





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.


Gedurende die afgelope jare het navorsing onder die Swart bevolking 'n toename in gesondheidsrisiko's wat met fisieke onaktiwiteit geassosieer is, getoon. Swart vroue, wat die hoogste vlakke van onaktiwiteit, oorgewig en obesiteit toon, blyk ook die grootste risiko te loop om leefstylverwante chroniese siektes te ontwikkel. Hierdie ondersoekend-beskrywende studie het die fisieke aktiwiteitspatrone en gesondheidstatus van twee generasies van Swart professionele vroue ondersoek. Die tweegenerasiesteekproef verteenwoordig voor- en na-demokrasie-ouderdomsgroepe. Kwantitatiewe meetinstrumente, naamlik die ActiGraph GT1M versnellingsmeter, Globale Fisieke Aktiwiteitsvraelys en die Gesondheidsbevorderende Leefstylprofiel is gebruik. Die steekproef het onderwysers, verpleegkundiges, maatskaplike werkers en bestuurders in die openbare sektor ingesluit. Deelnemers tussen 35 en 45 jaar is aan die ouergenerasie-toetsgroep toegewys (n = 111), terwyl dié tussen 18 en 21 jaar (studente in bogenoemde studierigtings) aan die jongergenerasie-toetsgroep toegewys is (n = 69). Die resultate het gewys dat die Swart professionele vroue laer as verwagte gesondheidsbevorderende gedrag, betekenisvol laer vlakke van fisieke aktiwiteit en betekenisvol hoër vlakke van oorgewig en obesiteit toon as die Suid-Afrikaanse norme. Die waarneming dat die jonger groep dieselfde gedragspatrone as die ouer vroue getoon het, is h bron van kommer. h Groter nakoming van gesondheidsbevorderende gedrag is onder die jonger groep vroue verwag, aangesien hulle hul opleiding in die professionele sektor van gesondheid, onderwys en maatskaplike werk ontvang. h Holistiese benadering is nodig om fisieke aktiwiteit en gesondheid onder Swart Suid-Afrikaanse vrouens te bevorder.



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Cheryl Walter
PO Box 77000
Port Elizabeth 6031
South Africa

Received: 20 Jan. 2010
Accepted: 22 Nov. 2010
Published: 08 June 2011

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