Physical activity levels and hypertension among University employees in Kigali-Rwanda
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Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases worldwide. There is evidence of the rising incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases of lifestyle in developing countries. Physical activity has been regarded as a commonly accepted modality for treating hypertension. The aim of this study was to determine if physical activity levels are associated with hypertension among employees of Kigali Institute Science and Technology in Kigali, Rwanda. A quantitative, cross- sectional design was used and all staff members (325 employees) of Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) represented the study population. Random sampling was used to determine the study sample. Data was collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire adopted from The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).Data analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 15.0. Descriptive statistics using frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations and inferential statistics using Chi-square tests were employed. The data were presented with use of tables, figures, graphs, and pie charts. Ethical issues including obtaining permission for conducting the study,informed consent,anonymity,confidentiality, voluntary participation, and the right to withdraw from the study was observed in this study. The study found a prevalence of 34% participants with hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension was associated with age, smoking, drinking alcohol, suffering for diabetes mellitus, and body mass index (BMI). Over one-fifth of the participants in the physically active group were hypertensive while 68% of the participants in the physically inactive group were hypertensive. This study shows that hypertension status is strongly associated with physical activity levels [X² = 20.381 with(P<0.001)].The study further showed that smoking and suffering from diabetes mellitus were also associated with levels of physical activity (P = 0.003 and p = 0.004 respectively). The current study concludes that physical activity is needed for employees at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology as part of preventive measures for chronic diseases of lifestyle.Therefore, the recommendations were proposed to various categories of people and stakeholders to be actively involved in the promotion of physical activity among employees of Kigali Universities in Rwanda.