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Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Stella K. Muthuri, Mark S. Tremblay and Vincent O. Onywera

Background:

The report card presents available evidence on the physical activity (PA) and body weight status of Kenyan children and youth. It highlights areas where Kenya is succeeding and those in which more action is needed.

Methods:

Comprehensive review and analysis of available data on core indicators for Kenyan children and youth 5−17 years were conducted. The grading system used was based on a set of specific criteria and existing grading schemes from similar report cards in other countries.

Results:

Of the 10 core indicators discussed, body composition was favorable (grade B) while overall PA levels, organized sport participation, and active play were assigned grades of C. Active transportation and sedentary behaviors were also favorable (grade B). Family/peers, school, governmental and nongovernmental strategies were graded C.

Conclusions:

The majority of Kenyan children and youth have healthy body composition levels and acceptable sedentary time, but are not doing as well in attaining the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation on PA. Although Kenya seems to be doing well in most indicators compared with some developed countries, there is a need for action to address existing trends toward unhealthy lifestyles. More robust and representative data for all indicators are required.

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Stella K. Muthuri, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Vincent O. Onywera and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

A physical activity transition to declining activity levels, even among children, now poses a serious public health concern because of its contribution to a rising prevalence of noncommunicable diseases. Childhood physical activity levels are associated with parental perceptions of the neighborhood; however, these relationships have not been explored in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The objective was to investigate relationships between parental perceptions of the neighborhood and physical activity indicators among Kenyan children.

Methods:

Data were collected from children 9 to 11 years old in Nairobi as part of the International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and Environment. Child physical activity was assessed by accelerometry, and information on obtaining sufficient physical activity, active transport, and parental perceptions of the neighborhood collected using questionnaires.

Results:

Of 563 participating children, 45.7%, 12.6%, and 11.4% used active school transportation, met physical activity guidelines, and were sufficiently active, respectively. Parental perception of positive neighborhood social cohesion, positive environs and connectivity, and negative child safety concerns, were associated with child physical activity outcomes.

Conclusions:

Aspects of parental perceptions of the neighborhood were associated with child physical activity outcomes and should be further explored to appropriately inform policy and practice in curbing declining physical activity levels among children in SSA.

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Vincent O. Onywera, Stella K. Muthuri, Sylvester Hayker, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Florence Kyallo, Robert O. Mang’eni, Peter Bukhala and Caleb Mireri

Background:

Kenya’s 2016 report card aimed to highlight the health and well-being of Kenyan children and youth using the best available evidence on the physical activity of Kenyan children and youth. The report pointed at areas where Kenya was succeeding and areas where more action is required.

Methods:

Inclusive analyses of available data sources on the core indicators related to physical activity and body weights of Kenyan children and youth (5 to 17 years) were conducted. These were assigned grades based on a set of specific criteria.

Results:

Results show that Active Play, Active Transportation, Overweight and Obesity, and Sedentary Behavior were favorable with a grade of B. Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, and School (infrastructure, policies, and programs) each received a grade of C, while Family and Peers, Government and Nongovernment organizations, as well as the Community and the Built Environment were assigned grade D.

Conclusions:

Over 72% of Kenyan children and youth use active transportation to and from school and in their daily lives. Although majority of the children and youth have normal body weight, there is need to ensure that they meet and maintain the physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organization. More needs to be done especially in relation to the governmental and nongovernmental organizations, organized sports participation, as well as involvement of family and peers in promoting healthy active lifestyles among Kenyan children and youth. More representative data for all indicators are required in Kenya.