Physical Activity Patterns of School-going Adolescents in Rural India: An Examination of Gender Differences Open Access

Thummalapally, Sharanya Lynn (2013)

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Objective: To characterize physical activity patterns of school-going adolescents in rural India by duration, frequency and participation. Total, activity-specific and domain-specific physical activity was assessed, as well as gender differences, to understand how adolescents in rural India engage in physical activity and what differences exist between girls and boys. Study Design: A total of 395 adolescents aged 13 to 16 participated in this study, including 198 girls and 197 boys, from 6 schools (3 public and 3 private) in the city of Bijapur, India. Data from 24-hour time-use surveys were used to assess adolescents' physical activity. Methods: Twenty activities from the 24-hour time-use recall were determined to be physical activities, and were grouped into activity domains. Mean duration and percent participation were calculated for each activity and activity domain. Gender comparisons were made for duration using t-tests, and for participation using chi2 tests. Results: Adolescents engaged in 124 minutes of daily physical activity and 68% engaged in at least 60 minutes of physical activity. Adolescents completed an average of 3 physical activities over the course of the 24-hour recall period. Compared to boys, girls exhibited higher participation and spent more time in indoor cleaning, meal cleanup, laundry, preparing food, and serving food. Compared to girls, boys exhibited higher participation and spent more time in active play outdoors and biking. By domain, girls reported higher participation and spent more time in the household chores domain (51%; 41min) than boys (19%; 13min). Boys reported higher participation in the travel domain (50%) than girls (27%). Girls from households with domestic help exhibited lower physical activity than girls from households without domestic help, though the same difference was not observed for boys. Conclusions: Cultural gender norms seem to influence physical activity behaviors. Though boys and girls did not differ in overall duration of physical activity, gender differences exist in types of physical activities engaged in, where girls engage in more household activity indoors while boys engage in more active play and biking outdoors.

Table of Contents

ABSTRACT 1 INTRODUCTION 2 Study Purpose and Framework 3 LITERATURE REVIEW 3 1. Physical Activity 3 2. Health Implications 5 3. Physical Activity in Adolescence 6 4. Factors Thought to Influence Adolescent Physical Activity 8 5. Gender Differences 10 6. Globalization and Physical Activity 12 7. Physical Activity in India 13 8. Measurement of Physical Activity 15 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 18 Research Questions 20 DATA & METHODS 21 1. Study Setting 21 2. Sample Selection & Interviews 22 3. Survey Instruments 22 4. Data Collection 23 5. Data Setup and Management 23 6. Developing Measures 27 7. Data Analysis 32 RESULTS 34 1. Demographics 34 2. Physical Activity 35 DISCUSSION 38 1. Summary of Findings 39 2. Comparing Findings to Expectations and Existing Literature 40 3. Limitations 43 4. Strengths and Contributions 47 REFERENCES 49 FIGURES 58 TABLES 61

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