Physical activity and non-communicable disease risk factors: knowledge and perceptions of youth in a low resourced community in the Western Cape
Rampou, Mpai Tshidisegang Tshwaro
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The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the rising cause of mortality globally. Physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption are common NCDs risk factors contributing to premature death, related to NCDs worldwide. Youth’s lack of knowledge and misconception on physical activity (PA) and NCDs risk factors, aids the growing burden of NCDs globally. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore the knowledge and perception of youth in a low-resourced community in the Western Cape Province. A qualitative methodological approach was adopted for data collection, using a qualitative exploratory study design. Convenience sampling was used to select the female youth participants, aged 18-35 years old from, Vrygrond in the Western Cape Province. Focus group discussions were steered by means of a semi-structured interview plan to guide the discussion about perceptions and knowledge of PA and NCDs risks factor. Trustworthiness was used to review information and to assess accuracy of findings. The discussions were analysed using Atlas.Ti8. Results indicated that the female youth were reasonably knowledgeable about the term PA. However, they lacked sufficient knowledge with regards to NCDs, indicating that participants are uninformed about NCDs and their risk factors in their community and local healthcare centres. Female youth’s socio-economic environment had an influence impact on their perceptions and decisions made with regards to PA and preventing them from engaging in NCDs risk factors. Furthermore, there were various barriers hindering the female youth from participating in PA and preventing them from engaging in NCDs risk factors. Results of this study will inform policy at the provincial, and national level, to provide cost effective and sustainable educative intervention programmes that address the youth misconception on physical activity and NCDs risks factor. Creation of awareness can positively influence beliefs and promote healthier practices, therefore making it crucial to understand NCDs risks factor implications on health, in lieu to combating the onset of NCDs.