Prevalence and disparities in adolescents’ sedentary behavior from twenty-three African countries: evidence from World Health Organization Global School-based Student Health Survey

Ulric Abonie*, Martin Ackah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives
Studies on sedentary behavior among adolescents in Africa are limited, hindering public health initiatives. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence, age, gender, country's income level, and sub-regional disparities of sedentary behavior among adolescents in Africa.

Study design
Cross sectional.

Methods
Adolescents who participated in the Global School-based Student Health Survey from the 23 participating African countries were included in the study. Sedentary behavior was assessed with a self-reported questionnaire. A meta-analysis using random effect modeling was used to estimate the prevalence, age, gender, country's income level, and sub-regional disparities of sedentary behavior.

Results
Sixty three thousand six hundred thirty five adolescents (12–17 years) were included in the analysis. The prevalence of sedentary behavior was 30% (95% CI: 27%–34%) and significantly higher among adolescents in Southern Africa and East Africa compared to adolescents in West Africa and North Africa (Q = 25.15; P < 0.001). No disparities were found for age (Q =1.51; P = 0.22), gender (Q = 0.10; P = 0.75), country's income level (Q = 4.37; P = 0.11), and survey year (Q = 1.03; P = 0.31). The results were heterogeneous between countries.

Conclusions
The results suggest that a significant proportion of adolescents in Africa engage in sedentary behavior, with the highest prevalence found in Southern Africa and East Africa. This highlights the need for context-specific policy design and interventions to increase physical activity engagement and limit sedentary behavior among adolescents in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-132
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health
Volume231
Early online date29 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2024

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