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  • Author: Robert M. Ojiambo x
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Robert M. Ojiambo, Chris Easton, Jose A. Casajús, Kenn Konstabel, John J. Reilly and Yannis Pitsiladis

Background:

Urbanization affects lifestyles in the developing world but no studies have assessed the impact on objectively measured physical activity in children and adolescents from sub-Saharan Africa.

Purpose:

To compare objectively measured habitual physical activity, sedentary time, and indices of adiposity in adolescents from rural and urban areas of Kenya.

Methods:

Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed by accelerometry for 5 consecutive days in 97 (50 female and 47 male) rural and 103 (52 female and 51 male) urban adolescents (mean age 13 ± 1 years). Body Mass Index (BMI) and BMI z-scores were used to assess adiposity.

Results:

Rural males spent more time in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) compared with urban males (68 ± 22 vs. 50 ± 17 min, respectively; P < .001). Similarly, Rural females spent more time in MVPA compared with urban females (62 ± 20 vs. 37 ± 20 min, respectively; P < .001). Furthermore, there were significant differences in daily sedentary time between rural and urban subjects. Residence (rural vs. urban) significantly (P < .001) influenced BMI z-score (R 2 = .46).

Conclusion:

Rural Kenyan adolescents are significantly more physically active (and less sedentary) and have lower indices of adiposity compared with urban adolescents and this is a likely refection of the impact of urbanization on lifestyle in Kenya.