Relationship between physical activity and its level of awareness with health benefits among Makerere University students
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Background: Physical activity can be effective in the prevention of non- communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity which are listed as the main cause of death in adult mortality. Preventative work is needed to tackle the prevalence and behavioral factors that cause NCDs. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between physical activity and its level of awareness with health benefits among Makerere university students. Method: A cross-sectional study involving both qualitative and quantitative methods was used. A total of 385 Makerere university students were recruited. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected using a questionnaire to measure levels of physical activity and awareness about health benefits among participants. Data was analyzed using SPSS and presented in MET-min/w for the case of level of physical activity. Results: The average total physical activity for the participant was found to be 503.49 METminutes/week considering all the domains. The participants had an average score much lower than the recommended 600 MET- minutes/week per person. Majority of male respondents (n=16) were physically active compared to female respondents (n=8). Majority of the female respondents were physically inactive (n=41) compared to male respondents (n=39). Majority of the respondents were able to list more than one response 73.1% about health benefits of physical activity, 7.7% respondents were unable to give any correct response about the health benefits of physical activity, 8.7% respondents were able to list only cardiorespiratory health benefits of physical activity, 4.8% respondents were able to list only metabolic health benefits of physical activity and 5.8% of the respondents were able to list only musculoskeletal health benefits of physical activity. Unfortunately, most of the respondents in the study 80.8% had never received any public lectures about physical activity and only a smaller proportion 19.2% had ever received public lectures about physical activity. Conclusion: Participants in this study had low levels of physical activity compared to the general recommendations for physical activity. Also the most participants were aware of the health benefits of physical activity.