Physical activity levels among young people with physical disabilities in selected high schools in Kenya and their perceived barriers and facilitators to participation

26 Mar 2010

Purpose: To determine the levels of and potential contributing factors to participation in physical activity among young people with physical disabilities attending high school in Kenya. Methods: A cross-sectional survey, using a pre-piloted and validated self-administered questionnaire, was carried out in a purposively selected sample of 234 young people with physical disabilities drawn from three inclusive high schools in Kenya. The questionnaire comprising outcome measures for physical activity levels, barriers, and facilitators to physical activity participation was administered to the young people. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and both descriptive and inferential statistics were done. Results: Almost half of the children in the sample were inactive. Key barriers to physical activity were found to be: fear avoidance and disability, lack of time and the need to rest. Finding ways to exercise that are enjoyable, and not being in good health were associated significantly to gender (p<0.05). Likewise, age was significantly associated with gaining peer acceptance, as was encouragement from family and having disability (p<0.05). Conclusion: The results indicate there is a need, for activity counselling and provision of local disability-friendly and/or conducive environments to increase physical activity participation in this sample. All stakeholders should be enlisted in making recommendations and designing physical activity programmes for young people with disabilities in their schools.