Original Research

Relationship between physical activity and behaviour challenges of adolescents in South Africa

Kwabena Asare, Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Karina Ranjit, Andrew Tomita, Saeeda Paruk
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 29 | a2124 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v29i0.2124 | © 2023 Kwabena Asare, Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Karina Ranjit, Andrew Tomita, Saeeda Paruk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2023 | Published: 18 December 2023

About the author(s)

Kwabena Asare, Discipline of Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vuyokazi Ntlantsana, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Karina Ranjit, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew Tomita, Centre for Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Saeeda Paruk, Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Four out of five adolescents worldwide are physically inactive based on recommended standards.

Aim: We determined whether physical activity is associated with lower behavioural challenges in adolescents to promote buy-in from stakeholders.

Setting: KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, from January 2020 to March 2020.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 187 adolescent learners (12–18 years) from three government schools in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, from January to March 2020. We fitted linear regression models between the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire scores (total, internalising, externalising, and prosocial) and hours of physical activity exposure, adjusting for demographic covariates, and depression history.

Results: The median age was 14.4 years (interquartile range = 1.36) and 75.9% of the participants were females. Overall average and weekday physical activity were each associated with lower total and externalising but higher pro-social scores. Depression was associated with higher inactivity scores (total, internalising and externalising).

Conclusions: The article shows that physical activity can reduce the behavioural and emotional problems in adolescents.

Contribution: Physical activity is critical for a healthy adolescent hood and needs to be actively included in childhood development.


Keywords

physical activity; strengths and difficulties questionnaire; behavioural challenges; depression; emotinal challenges.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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