Physical Activity

  • Fletcher Njororai
  • Wycliffe W. Simiyu Njororai


Physical activity (PA) is a health-enhancing behaviour with many benefits to an individual. Regular PA has been shown to reduce the risk for a range of chronic diseases (Amusa, Toriola, & Goon, 2012; Dvorak, Fuller, & Junge, 2012; Ferreira et al., 2006; Strydom, 2013). Among the young people, PA offers prospects for building strong bones, healthy joints, a strong heart, and a good mental health and prevents today’s major public health concern—obesity (Amusa et al., 2012; Kohn & Booth, 2003). Despite these health benefits, many people, especially the young ones, are not engaging in recommended levels of PA so as to maximize these benefits.


  1. Aarts, M. J., Schuit, A. J., Van de Goor, L. A. M., & van Oers, H. A. M. (2011). Feasibility of Multi-sector Policy Measures that Create Activity-friendly Environments for Children: Results of a Delphi Study. Retrieved April 17, 2015, from
  2. Amusa, L. O., Toriola, A. L., & Goon, D. T. (2012). Youth Physical Activity and Leisure Education: Need for a Paradigm Shift. African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD), 18(4), 992–1006.Google Scholar
  3. April, M., Kolbe-Alexander, T., Draper, C., & Lambert, E. V. (n.d.). Physical Activity and Public Health in Africa: A Review of the Problem and Strategies for Primordial Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases. Report from UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, R., Hillman, C., Arent, S., & Petitpas, A. (2012). Physical Activity as an Investment in Personal and Social Change: The Human Capital Model. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9, 1053–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baum, F. (1999). The Role of Social Capital in Health Promotion: Australian Perspectives. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 9(3), 171–187.Google Scholar
  6. Bayly, L., & Bull, F. (2001). How to Build Social Capital: A Case Study of an Enduring Community Walking Group. Perth: Eastern Perth Public and Community Health Unit and Department of Public Health, University of Western Australia.Google Scholar
  7. Berke, E. M., Koepsell, T. D., Moudon, A. V., Hoskins, R. E., & Larson, E. B. (2007). Association of the Built Environment with Physical Activity and Obesity in Older Persons. American Journal of Public Health, 97(3), 486–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berkman, L. F. (2000). Social Support, Social Networks, Social Cohesion, and Health. Social Work in Health Care, 32(2), 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bloemhoff, H. J. (2010, December). Gender- and Race-related Physical Activity Levels of South African University Students. African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD), (Suppl), 25–35.Google Scholar
  10. Bloom, D. E. (n.d.). Education, Health and Development. Project on Universal Basic and Secondary Education Report. American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Google Scholar
  11. Booth, M. L., Owen, N., Bauman, A., Clavisi, O., & Leslie, E. (2000). Social-Cognitive and Perceived Environment Influences Associated with Physical Activity in Older Australians. Preventive Medicine, 31(1), 15–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burnett, C. (2006). The Social Impact of Siyadlala: A National Sport Mass Participation Programme in South Africa. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from
  13. Chau, J. (2007). Physical Activity and Building Stronger Communities. Premier’s Council for Active Living. Report No. CPAH07-001. NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health.Google Scholar
  14. Community Builders NSW. (2007). What Is Community Building? Retrieved March 9, 2013, from
  15. Dumith, S. C., Hallal, P. C., Reis, R. S., & Kohl, H. W., III. (2011). Worldwide Prevalence of Physical Inactivity and Its Association with Human Development Index in 76 Countries. Preventive Medicine, 53(1–2), 24–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dvorak, J., Fuller, C. W., & Junge, A. (2012). Planning and Implementing a Nationwide Football-Based Health-Education Programme. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 46, 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ferreira, I., van der Horst, K., Wendel-Vos, W., Kremers, S., van Lenthe, F. J., & Burg, J. (2006). Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity in Youth: A Review and Update. Obesity Reviews, 8, 129–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fisher, K. J., & Li, F. (2004). A Community-Based Walking Trial to Improve Neighbourhood Quality of Life in Older Adults: A Multilevel Analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 28(3), 186–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frank, F., & Smith, A. (1999). The Community Development Handbook: A Tool to Build Community Capacity: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from http://www.hrsdc
  20. Guthold, R., Louazani, S., Riley, L. M., Cowan, M., Bovet, P., Damasceno, A., Sambo, B. H., Tesfaye, F., & Armstrong, T. (2011). Physical Activity in 22 African Countries: Results from the World Health Organization STEPwise Approach to Chronic Disease Risk Factor Surveillance. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(1), 52–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guthold, R., Ono, T., Strong, K. L., Chatterji, S., & Morabia, A. (2008). Worldwide Variability in Physical Inactivity: A 51-Country Survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34(6), 486–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Halpin, H. A., Morales-Suarez-Varela, M. M., & Martin-Moreno, J. M. (n.d.). Chronic Disease Prevention and the New Public Health. Public Health Reviews, 32(1), 120–154.Google Scholar
  23. Heroux, M., Onywera, V. O., Tremblay, M. S., Adamo, K. B., Lopez, J. T., Jauregui, U. E., et al. (2013). The Relation Between Aerobic Fitness, Muscular Fitness, and Obesity in Children from Three Countries at Different Stages of the Physical Activity Transition. ISRN Obesity, Article ID 134835.Google Scholar
  24. Hoehner, C. M., Brennan, L. K., Brownson, R. C., Handy, S. L., & Killingsworth, R. (2003). Opportunities for Integrating Public Health and Urban Planning Approaches to Promote Active Community Environments. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18(l), 14–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kahn, E. B., Ramsey, L. T., Brownson, R. C., Heath, G. W., Howze, E. H., & Powell, K. E. (2002). The Effectiveness of Interventions to Increase Physical Activity: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 22(4, Suppl. 1), 73–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kamau, J. W., Mwangi, P. W., Njororai, W. W. S., & Wamukoya, E. K. (2011). Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among Primary School Children in Nairobi Province, Kenya. African Journal for Physical, Health Education Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD), 17(2), 312–327.Google Scholar
  27. Kawachi, I., Subramanian, S. V., & Almeida-Filho, N. (2002). A Glossary for Health Inequalities. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56(9), 647–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kerr, J., Rosenberg, D., & Frank, L. (2012). The Role of the Built Environment in Healthy Aging: Community Design, Physical Activity, and Health Among Older Adults. Journal of Planning Literature, 27(1), 43–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kohn, M. R., & Booth, M. (2003). The Worldwide Epidemic of Obesity in Adolescents. Adolescent Medicine, 14, 1–9.Google Scholar
  30. Kolbe-Alexander, T. L., Bull, F., & Lambert, E. V. (2012). Physical Activity Advocacy and Promotion: The South African Experience. SAJSM, 24(4), 112–116.Google Scholar
  31. Leyden, K. M. (2003). Social Capital and the Built Environment: The Importance of Walkable Neighbourhoods. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1546–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindstrom, M., Moghaddassi, M., & Merlo, J. (2003). Social Capital and Leisure Time Physical Activity: A Population Based Multilevel Analysis in Malmo, Sweden. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57, 23–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lumeng, J. C., Appugliese, D., Cabral, H. J., Bradley, R. H., & Zuckerman, B. (2006). Neighbourhood Safety and Overweight Status in Children. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 160, 25–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Micheli, L., Mountjoy, M., Engebretsen, L., Hardman, K., Kahlmeier, S., Lambert, E., Ljungqvist, A., Matsudo, V., McKay, H., & Sundberg, C. J. (2011). Fitness and Health of Children through Sport: The Context for Action. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 931–936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Onywera, V. O., Adamo, K. B., Sheel, A. W., Waudo, J. N., Boit, M. K., & Tremblay, M. S. (2012). Emerging Evidence of the Physical Activity Transition in Kenya. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9, 554–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Onywera, V. O., Héroux, M., Jáuregui, U. E., Adamo, K. B., Taylor, J. L., Janssen, I., et al. (2013). Adiposity and Physical Activity Among Children in Countries at Different Stages of the Physical Activity Transition: Canada, Mexico and Kenya. African Journal for Physical, Health Education Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD), 19(1), 132–142.Google Scholar
  37. Paronen, O., & Oja, P. (1998). How to Understand a Community-Community Assessment for the Promotion of Health-Related Physical Activity. Patient Education and Counseling, 33(Suppl. 1), S25–S28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Perdue, W. C., Stone, L. A., & Goslin, L. O. (2003). The Built Environment and Its Relationship to the Public’s Health: The Legal Framework. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1390–1394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Putnam, R. D. (1993). The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life. The American Prospect, 13, 35–41.Google Scholar
  40. Republic of Mauritius. (n.d.). National Action Plan on Physical. Activity, 2011–2014.Google Scholar
  41. Salens, B. E., Sallis, J. F., Black, J. B., & Chen, D. (2003). Neighbourhood-Based Differences in Physical Activity: An Environment Scale Evaluation. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1552–1558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shilton, T., Abernethy, P., Atkinson, R., Bauman, A., Brown, W., & Naughton, G. (2001). Promoting Physical Activity: Ten Recommendations from the Heart Foundation. A Position Paper for Health Professionals and Organisations Planning to Develop and Promote Physical Activity Programs. The National Heart Foundation. Retrieved March 1, 2013, from, and retrieved on April 17, 2015.
  43. Sinnett, D., Williams, K., Chatterjee, K., & Cavill, N. (2011). Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment: A Review of the Evidence. Technical Report. Living Streets, London.Google Scholar
  44. Sport and Health: Preventing Disease and Promoting Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from
  45. Strydom, G. L. (2013). Physical Activity, Health and Well-being—A Strategic Objective of the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) of South Africa. African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance (AJPHERD), 19 (4:2): 980–992.Google Scholar
  46. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2008, November 5). Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines.Google Scholar
  47. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Guide to Community Preventive Services. (Updated February 10, 2009).Google Scholar
  48. Wang, Y., & Lobstein, T. (2006). Worldwide Trends in Childhood Overweight and Obesity. International Journal of Paediatric Obesity, 1, 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. World Health Organization. (2003). Health and Development through Physical Activity and Sport. Retrieved April 17, 2015, from
  50. World Health Organization. (2008). Review of Best Practice in Interventions to promote Physical Activity in Developing Countries. Background Document prepared for the WHO Workshop on Physical Activity and Public Health 24–27 October 2005: Beijing, People’s Republic of China.Google Scholar
  51. World Health Organization. (2009). Overweight and Obesity (BMI). Health Topic Page. [Online]. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from
  52. Ziraba, A. K., Fotso, J. C., & Ochako, R. (2009). Overweight and Obesity in Urban Africa: A Problem of the Rich or the Poor? BioMedCentral. Retrieved April 17, 2015, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fletcher Njororai
    • 1
  • Wycliffe W. Simiyu Njororai
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas at TylerTylerUSA

Personalised recommendations