n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Leisure time physical activity participation in women (30-65 years) with high coronary heart disease risk indicators : physical activity and fitness

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of leisure time physical activity participation (LTPA) on South African women presenting with some enhanced coronary heart disease (CHD) risk indicators (physical inactivity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity and smoking). The respondents comprised 3 542 women, aged between 30 and 65 years ( x 41.6 12.8 years) suffering from one or more of the primary risk factors for CHD. The cut-off points for the primary CHD risk factors considered were the following: systolic blood pressure > 140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure > 90 mmHg, total cholesterol > 5.2 mmol.L-1, obesity (BMI > 30) and cigarette smoking. The following physical activity categories were selected viz: high physically active (> 2 000 kcal·week-1), moderate physically active (1 000 - 2 000 kcal·week-1) and low physically active (< 1 000 kcal·week-1). Data were collected by means of demographic and physical activity questionnaires as well as field tests, and assessing total cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity. The respondents were selected from two age groups (30-49 and 50-65 year) representing primarily the pre- and postmenopausal phases of female life. Leisure time physical activity participation does not alter the selected primary coronary heart disease risk factors in the pre- and post-menopausal women significantly. Physically inactive women, however, tend to present more health risks than those participants in the moderately and high physical activity group. The prevalence of health risks increases with age in spite of participation in LTPA. The number of health risk indicators can be reduced by increasing LTPA, thus contributing to the management of the women's general health. Women should be encouraged to take responsibility for managing their own health by engaging in a healthy lifestyle in order to manage their health risks properly. This may require a multidisciplinary approach.

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