Physical activity in relation to selected physical health components in employees of a financial institution
The aim of this study was to determine the relation between physical activity and selected physical health components. A total of 9860 employees of a financial institution in South Africa, between the ages 18 and 64 (x̄ =35.3 ± 18.6 years), voluntary participated in the study. Health risk factors and physical activity was determined by using the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and Monitored Health Risk (MHM). Assessment included a physical activity, diabetes risk and cardiovascular risk questionnaire, as well as Body Mass Index (BMI) and random peripheral blood glucose measurements. The majority of the study group show low physical activity participation (78.27%). Both men and women show an increased risk for diabetes, while high physical activity levels have a practically and statistically significant effect on the reduction of diabetes risk. The physical activity (PA) categories for both men and women show an increased average BMI (men = 26.46 kg/m2 ± 6.18; women = 26.42 kg/m2 ± 6.18. The mean for cholesterol in all groups were categorised as low risk. The men show higher cardiovascular risk than women. With regard to physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk, all three women groups show statistically significant differences compared to all three men’s groups. There are also moderate practically significant differences between the women’s and men’s groups. Physical activity does not seem to have a significant effect on the cardiovascular disease risk of the women groups. However, regarding the men’s groups, the low physically active men’s groups show significant differences with the high physically active men group. Thus, it appears that the men participating in high levels of physical activity show the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease and therefore appears to be influenced by physical activity. In conclusion, high physical activity participation reduces the risk for diabetes in both men and women, and reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease in men.
Keywords: Physical activity, health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, BMI, cholesterol.