2019, Volume 11, Issue 1
Physical activity patterns and dietary habits of undergraduate students
Ebenezer Essaw1, Monday Omoniyi Moses1, Daniel Afrifa1, Isaac Kwaku Acheampong1, Winifred Mensah1, Lemuel Owusu1
1Department of Sports and Exercise Science, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Author for correspondence: Monday Omoniyi Moses; Department of Sports and Exercise Science, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Data about physical activity report card for Ghanaian children and youth are available but reports on physical activity patterns and dietary habits of undergraduates are scarce.
Material and methods: This cross-sectional study sampled 278 participants (161 males, 117 females, mean age = 20.73 ± 1.72 years). Blood pressure, heart rate, physical activity patterns and dietary habits were measured.
Results: Most (83.1%) of the sample predominantly engaged in household activities. Time spent on treadmill/ cycling activities is significantly higher in females than males (P = 0.018). Day/week for high intensity sports was higher in males (P = 0.005), while household work was significantly higher in females (P = 0.032). Few people observed breakfast. There was poor consumption of soft drinks, vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy products, fast-foods, fried foods, and cake/biscuit twice/three times a week; 70.3% seldom consumed energy drinks; 49.8% ate the main meal daily. Males significantly had higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) (P = 0.014) and consumed fried foods habitually more often than females (P = 0.026).
Conclusions: Participants mainly involved in low physical activities and consumed less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables per week. Proactive and regular health-enhancing physical activity interventions would stimulate participation and healthy dietary habits of university students.
Key words: exercise, nutrition, health behaviour, obesity, gender, public health