Results from Ghana’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Background:

Limited evidence exists on indicators of physical activity (PA) and guidelines for children and youth in Ghana, despite the growing burden of physical inactivity, obesity, and related morbidity. A baseline description of PA indicators of Ghanaian children and youth is hereby presented in the 2014 Ghanaian Physical Activity Report Card.

Methods:

Data for the report card were obtained from a very limited available literature on PA among children and youth in Ghana. PA experts independently assigned grades to indicators based on available evidence, which were then harmonized and agreed to by group consensus.

Results:

The report card is based on limited evidence. Thus, 2 indicators were not graded (Active Play, and Family and Peer Support). For sedentary behavior, a B grade was assigned based on evidence from the 2012 Ghana School Health Survey which indicated that 21% of children and youth were sedentary. Organized Sports was graded a C, while the remainder of indicators (Overall PA levels, Active Transportation, School, Community, and Government) were graded a D.

Conclusions:

About one-third of Ghanaian children and youth engage in inadequate PA. More research on PA behavior and enabling environments is needed to better grade the indicators of PA in the future and to inform policy and interventions in Ghana. Appropriate school physical education and after-school sports policies and programs are warranted.

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Ocansey (corresponding author: gpestt@gmail.com) is with ALWAG Research and Education Center, Nungua, Ghana. Aryeetey and Badasu are with the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. Sofo is with Southeast Missouri State University, USA. Pambo is with the National Sports Authority Medical Directorate, Accra, Ghana. Nyawornota is with Labone Senior High School, Accra, Ghana.