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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.492618

Changes in self-reported physical activity predict health-related quality of life among South African schoolchildren: findings from the DASH intervention trial Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

 Stefanie Gall1*, Cheryl Walter2, Rosa Du Randt2, Larissa Adams2, Nandi Joubert2, Ivan Müller1, 3, Siphesihle Nqweniso2, Uwe Pühse1, Harald Seelig1, Danielle Smith2, Peter Steinmann3, Jürg Utzinger3 and  Markus Gerber1
  • 1Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Human Movement Science, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • 3Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Switzerland

Regular physical activity is associated with multiple health benefits for children. Evidence from cross-sectional studies suggests that physical activity is positively associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The promotion of physical activity, and hence HRQoL, through a school-based intervention is therefore an important endeavor, particularly in disadvantaged areas of low- and middle-income countries, including South Africa.
We designed a multicomponent physical activity intervention that was implemented over a 20-week period in 2015 in eight disadvantaged primary schools of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Overall, 687 children aged 8-13 years participated. HRQoL was measured with the 27-item KIDSCREEN questionnaire. Self-reported physical activity was assessed with a single item of the Health-Behavior of School-Aged Children test, and cardiorespiratory fitness with the 20-m shuttle run test.
Higher baseline levels as well as increasing levels of self-reported physical activity predicted children’s HRQoL. Baseline levels and increases in cardiorespiratory fitness predicted children’s self-perceived physical wellbeing (a HRQoL subscale). Participation in the multicomponent physical activity intervention only explained limited variance in children’s HRQoL.
Higher and increasing self-reported physical activity predict HRQoL, which underlines that the promotion of regular physical activity among children living in disadvantaged settings is an important public health measure. Policy makers should encourage schools to create physical activity friendly environments while schools should implement regular physical education as proposed by the school curriculum.

Keywords: intervention, Mental Health, physical activity, Psychosocial wellbeing, Schoolchildren, South Africa

Received: 20 Aug 2019; Accepted: 28 Aug 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Gall, Walter, Du Randt, Adams, Joubert, Müller, Nqweniso, Pühse, Seelig, Smith, Steinmann, Utzinger and Gerber. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Stefanie Gall, University of Basel, Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Basel, Switzerland,