There is limited data on objectively determined habitual physical activity (PA) in 16-year old South African adolescents. The purpose of this study was to objectively determine the habitual PA of adolescents from the North West Province of South Africa by race and gender.
Adolescents (137 girls, 89 boys) from the ongoing Physical Activity and Health Longitudinal Study (PAHL study), participated in the present study. Habitual PA was objectively recorded by means of the Actiheart® over a period of 7 days. Time spent in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was assessed.
Average MVPA for the study sample was 50.9 ± 40.3 minutes/day. Girls were significantly more active than boys expending more time in MVPA (61.13 ± 52.2 minutes/day; p < 0.05) than boys (35.0 ± 32.9 minutes/day). Although white adolescents spent more time in MVPA than black adolescents, there was no significant difference in MVPA between black (47.87 ± 39.6 minutes/day; p = 0.58) and white adolescents (59.5 ± 41.8 minutes/day).
Physical activity varies by both gender and race in adolescents from the North West Province of South Africa. Objectively determined data from our study indicates that girls habitually spend more time in MVPA per day than boys, and that white adolescents habitually engage in more MVPA than black adolescents. Seeing as the average MVPA per day for the entire study sample falls below the recommended daily average of 60minutes/day, adolescents should be the foremost targets of interventions aimed at enhancing habitual PA.