Year

1997

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health

Department

University of Wollongong. Dept. of Public Health and Nutrition

Abstract

Physical activity in adolescence has become a major field of interest in the prevention of hypokinetic diseases. This study highlights the level of physical activity of adolescents in grades 8 and 10 in the lllawarra using a questionnaire. It also highlights the relationship between physical activity amongst adolescents, with (regard to) their demographic characteristics, perceptional factors, social factors and environmental variables. This study also estimates the validity of the physical activity questions of the 'Youth Health Survey' , which is carried out in the lllawarra area by the lliawarra Area Public Health Unit using heart rate monitoring and a diary. It is concluded that a substantial percentage of adolescents (62.6 percent) do not meet the International Physical Activity Guideline I, which calls for participation in physical activity every day as part of their lifestyle. It is also concluded that 84 percent of adolescents do meet International Physical Activity Guideline II, which calls for participation in moderate to vigorous activity for 20 minutes, 3 or more days per week. The main detenninants of physical activity are age, gender, and ethnicity. Other factors affecting physical activity are the activity habits of significant others, particularly mothers and friends. The main reasons for participating in physical activity are making friends, to lose weight and to look good. The present findings imply that health promotion programs would be more effective if they were designed with the emphasis on making friends, looking good and losing weight. It is also concluded that the Validity of the physical activity questions, as used in WHO related surveys, is moderate for adolescents aged 13-16. It is concluded that the questionnaire is a valid indicator of physical activity among adolescents. It is also concluded that physical activity in adolescents needed to be promoted especially in females.

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