Publication Details

Abdeta, C., Teklemariam, Z., Deksisa, A., Abera, E., Ocansey, R. & Okely, A. (2019). Assessment of Physical Activity Indicators for Children and Youth in Ethiopia: Evidence from the Global Matrix 3.0 Study (2017-2018). Sports Medicine - Open, 5 (1), 55-1-55-8.


Background: Regular physical activity is vital for children's health, well-being, and development. However, evidence is scant about physical activity indicators for children and youth in Ethiopia. This study aimed to assess physical activity indicators among children and youth in Ethiopia. Methods: This study was conducted as part of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance's "Global Matrix 3.0" which included 49 countries. Data were collected from December 2017 to April 2018. The country research team included different disciplines related to physical activity. Data were retrieved from pre-reviewed literature, government policy documents, and an expert interview panel. Data were analyzed using the ten physical activity indicators for children and youth. The grading system was done through a harmonized process and the standard grading rubric of the Global Matrix 3.0 study ((A = ≥ 80%, B = 60%-79%, C = 40%-59%, D = 20%-39%, F = < 20%, INC = incomplete data). Results: For the overall physical activity indicator, 28% of children and youth in Ethiopia met the recommended physical activity of 60 min per day which resulted in a "D" grade. Likewise, the school and government indicator received a "D" grade. Almost 32% of schools in Ethiopia had access to infrastructures and multipurpose spaces for physical activity including outdoor play. The government policy partially existed in the non-communicable diseases agenda but had less focus on children and youth. The active play indicator scored the highest grade of "B." About 71% of children and youth were involved in active play for at least 2 h a day before, during, and after school. About 50% of children and youth were engaging in organized sport participation, and this indicator was graded a "C." Similarly, 48% of children and youth walked to and from school as a means of active transportation resulting in a "C" for this indicator. Three indicators (sedentary behavior, family and peers, and community and environment) were graded as an "F." Approximately 8% of children and youth were living in communities and environments that did not support opportunities for physical activity. Only 13% of children and youth spent less than 2 h per day in sedentary screen time. There was no adequate information to grade the physical fitness indicator. Conclusion: This study showed that Ethiopian's children and youth have received low grades for majority of physical activity indicators. Therefore, urgent actions should be taken by the government, policymakers, researchers, and key stakeholders to address the suggested priority areas.



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