Sex differences in physical activity among Ghanaian patients with sickle cell disease
Introduction: musculoskeletal pain and functional limitations experienced by patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) impact their physical activity and social behaviour. Yet, we know little about physical activity behaviour in patients with SCD. The aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in physical activity, sedentary time and measures of fitness among Ghanaian adults with SCD. The study also determined the association between outcome variables in this population.
Methods: patients with SCD attending a sickle cell clinic in a tertiary hospital in Accra, Ghana participated in this cross-sectional study. Physical activity, sedentary time, body composition, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance were assessed. Demographic data were also collected by self-report.
Results: fifty three participants enrolled in the study. Of these, more than half were females (60.4%) and the average age of the participants was (M: 26.8, SD: 8.5 years). The total physical activity reported by the participants was different between males and females (t = 2.610, p = 0.012). However, there were no gender differences in sedentary time, body composition, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. A moderately significant association was found between sedentary time and cardiovascular endurance (r = 0.437, p = 0.001).
Conclusion: the findings suggest that gender differences in physical activity are apparent in patients with SCD. Investigations into the mechanisms underpinning these differences are warranted. Additionally, longitudinal observations of objectively measured physical activity may be useful to validate these results in a larger sample.