Demographic and socio-economic predictors of physical activity among people living with HIV of low socio-economic status
Background: Physical activity (PA) is beneficial for the health of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA).
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine if age, body weight, height, gender, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), educational attainment, employment status, CD4+ cell count and body mass index (BMI) can predict overall PA among PLWHA of low socio-economic status (SES).
Setting: Participants in this study were HIV-infected patients on first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen offered by the South African National Department of Health, and those not on ART. Participants were conveniently sampled from a list at a community health care centre in Cape Town.
Methods: This study sample consisted of 978 HIV-infected South Africans. Physical activity data were collected using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. Backward multiple linear regression modelling was used to determine the relative influence of variables (age, body weight, height, gender, WHR, educational attainment, employment status, CD4+ count and BMI) on total moderate-to-vigorous PA. Alpha level was set at 0.05.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 38.2 (standard deviation [SD] = 8.76) years for men and 33.9 (SD = 8.53) years for women. Physical activity was significantly higher in men (480.2 [SD = 582.9] min/week) than among women (369.35 [SD = 222.53] min/week). The results of the multiple linear regression showed that educational attainment (β = 0.127; p = 0.00), employment (β = −0.087; p = 0.01) and gender (β = 0.235; p = 0.00) significantly predicted total moderate-to-vigorous PA. Gender had the greatest effect, followed by educational attainment and employment status.
Conclusion: There is a need for PA programmes that are designed to (1) target women, (2) strengthen programmes for education and promotion of PA and (3) engage the unemployed into PA for PLWHA. Physical activity interventions for this particular group should be tailored for persons of low SES.
Keywords: physical activity; exercise; socio-economic status; HIV; AIDS.
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