n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Physical activity and physical fitness profiles of South African women - : physical activity and health

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The purpose of this study was to determine the leisure time physical activity (LTPA) participation and physical fitness (PF) levels of South African women of the various ethnic groups. Individuals between the ages of 30 and 60 years (x =41.0; ±=4.6) who were part of a cross-sectional non-randomized availability population who voluntarily participated, were used in this study. The group that formed part of the physical activity survey included 3273 subjects (Asian =262; black=1357; coloured=239; white=1415) while the group for the physical fitness analysis included 3060 subjects (Asian=248; black=1015; coloured=199; white=1225). Subjects who used medication such as beta-adrenergic suppressors that could affect the fitness test were excluded from participating. Statistical analysis was done using the CSS: Statistica computer software to determine profile analysis of the participants. The results indicated that 85% of coloured women reported low physical activity participation, followed by black and Asian women where 83% of the participants indicated low physical activity participation, while 75% of white women revealed low physical activity levels. In contrast, 10% of the white women indicated high LTPA participation while only 5% of coloured women were very active. In the case of black and Asian participants, 8% and 6% respectively indicated high LTPA levels. Regarding physical fitness, 57%, 50%, 49% and 39% of the black, Asian, coloured and white respondents respectively showed low physical fitness levels, while 10%, 6%, and 5% of the white, Asian/black and coloured respondents showed high levels of physical fitness. This high prevalence of physical inactivity and unfitness may lead to various health problems and can increase the prevalence of hypokinetic ailments in adult women, increased health care costs and even premature death.

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