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African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Poverty, urbanisation, physical inactivity and health in African societies

A. Travill

Abstract


Research has provided overwhelming scientific evidence on the health, social and psychological benefits of engaging in sufficient, regular physical activities. However, physical activity is still considered to be the most underutilised inexpensive health resource in the world, despite its proven positive influences on the many aspects of personal health. Various factors are contributing to increases in sedentary lifestyles. The recreational alternatives brought about by technological advances especially in the field of computer technology have become strong competitors for people's free time. However, people's level of participation is not always governed by choice but often by unequal access to opportunities. Limited physical, human and financial resources in African societies, brought about by wide spread poverty and urbanisation, are depriving a large sector of the African community from living active lifestyles. The provision of opportunities to participate in sports and other physical activities is not considered a priority in communities where conditions of hunger and poverty are rampant. The aim of this paper is to highlight the impact of poverty and urbanisation on African communities' level of participation in sport, physical education and recreation.


Key words: Poverty, urbanisation, physical inactivity, health, African societies.


(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 9(2): 217-223)



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