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Patterns and correlates of objectively measured free-living physical activity in adults in rural and urban Cameroon.

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Assah, Felix 
Mbanya, Jean Claude 
Ekelund, Ulf 


BACKGROUND: Urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa is changing lifestyles and raising non-communicable disease burden. Understanding the underlying pattern of physical activity and its correlates may inform preventive interventions. We examined correlates of objectively-measured physical activity in rural and urban Cameroon. METHODS: Participants were 544 adults resident in rural (W-156, M-89) or urban (W-189, M-110) regions. Physical activity was measured using individually-calibrated combined heart rate and movement sensing over seven continuous days. Sociodemographic data were collected by self-report. Independent associations of sociodemographic correlates with physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were analysed in multivariate regression models. RESULTS: Rural dwellers were significantly more active than their urban counterparts (PAEE: 58.0 vs 42.9 kJ/kg/day; MVPA: 107 vs 62 min/day; MVPA of 150 min/week in >10 min bouts: 62 vs 39%) and less sedentary (923 vs 1026 min/day); p<0.001. There was no significant seasonal difference (dry vs rainy) in activity in urban dwellers whereas in rural dwellers activity was higher during dry seasons compared to rainy seasons (p<0.001). Age, obesity and education showed significant inverse associations with activity. Urban dwellers who considered themselves adequately active were only as active as rural dwellers who thought they were not adequately active. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study providing data on sociodemographic patterning of objectively-measured physical activity in rural and urban sub-Saharan Africa. Age, urban residence, obesity and higher educational level are important correlates of lower levels of physical activity. These suggest targets for public health interventions to improve physical activity in Cameroon.



DEVELOPING COUNTR, Epidemiology of chronic non communicable diseases, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, Adult, Age Distribution, Alcohol Drinking, Anthropometry, Body Mass Index, Cameroon, Chronic Disease, Educational Status, Family Characteristics, Female, Humans, Life Style, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Obesity, Rural Health, Smoking, Urban Health, Urbanization

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J Epidemiol Community Health

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Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/3)
Wellcome Trust (091143/Z/10/Z)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_U106179471)
Medical Research Council (MC_U106179473)
This research was supported by the Wellcome Trust (074786/Z/04/Z) and the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit (MC_UU_12015/3).