A Call for Physical Activity Guidelines to Be Established in Equatorial Africa: 269 Board #110 May 30 9


Courtney Jensen: 0000-0001-9774-0694

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences Department

Conference Title

2018 ACSM National Conference


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)


Minneapolis, MN

Conference Dates

May 29 - June 2, 2018

Date of Presentation

May 2018

Journal Publication

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise









Publication Date



Current guidelines recommend adults perform a minimum of 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) at least 5 days a week or vigorous PA on at least 3 days. Throughout Equatorial Africa, these recommendations are largely unmet and unknown. Among adults in rural areas, rates of sedentary behavior are reported to be 65-72%; in urban areas, where supplies are more accessible, 78-80% of men and women are sedentary. Geographic prevalence of metabolic syndrome reflects this with a 5-fold increase in urban populations. Currently, data are limited on how much PA should be prescribed to reduce the incidence of illness and physical suffering in Equatorial African populations. PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of PA on health outcomes among Ugandan men and women. METHODS: The Uganda National Household Survey gathered data from a random sample of Ugandan homes between 2012 and 2013. Variables related to PA were limited; we used “hours spent gathering firewood” and “hours spent collecting water” as representations of daily activity. Dependent variables were whether subjects experienced an injury in the last 30 days, the number of days they reported “suffering” from illness or injury during that period, and the number of times they had to cease activity owing to illness or injury. Linear regressions tested the effect of PA on physical health outcomes. RESULTS: Across the total sample, more hours spent gathering firewood (p<0.001) and more hours spent collecting water (p<0.001) each individually associated with reduced frequency of suffering and the number of times subjects had to stop activity owing to illness or injury. Time spent gathering firewood (p=0.328), water (p=0.346), or both (p=0.982) had no relationship with the incidence of injury in the last 30 days; the implication is that illness associates more strongly with PA than does injury. As subjects performed more PA, they reported less suffering and less obstruction of daily tasks. CONCLUSION: These data offer a modest indication that PA and health are inextricable: increased engagement in activity corresponds to better health and less suffering. Owing to these preliminary associations and the lack of comprehensive data, there is a demonstrable need for governmental guidelines for PA and potentially the establishment of a Ugandan College of Sports Medicine.