Knowledge of Secondary School Students in Ikenne Lga, Ogun State, Nigeria on Physical Activity as a Means of Health Promotion


Physical exercises (PE) are beneficial to the physical development and functioning of the human body, useful for the reduction of the risks of chronic disease conditions such as Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs), diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The objective of the study therefore was to determine secondary school students’ knowledge and use of physical exercises for health promotion in Ikenne Local Government Area, (LGA), Ogun State, Nigeria. The study was descriptive and cross-sectional in design. Four out of the eleven public secondary schools in the study area were randomly selected by balloting for study. Data were collected using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires interview 502 students. Data were treated using EPI-INFO version 6 software to carry out the descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The survey results showed that the ages of the students ranged from 10-30 years, with a mean of (15.6+2.4) years. All the respondents had heard about PE and their main sources of information included television, (63.7%) and school, (59.6%). Ninety five percent of the students reported ever participating in PE; among this subgroup, 74.6%, were currently involved in PE. The mean weekly frequencies of participation in PE at home and at school were (3.5+2.1) and (3.3+2.4) times respectively. There was no significant relationship between perception on participation in PE and sex of the respondents (p>0.05). A sizeable percentage of respondents were aware that physical inactivity could predispose one to obesity, (49.6%), heart-related health problems, (43.6%), and hypertension, (33.7%). There was a significant relationship between awareness of health problems and class of students with those in higher classes having a higher level of awareness (p<0.05). A total of 72.7% reported that PE improves one’s immunity while, 48.6% claimed that PE help to relieve tension and stress. 45.2% reported that PE improve students’ concentration in class and 29.7% disclosed that PE help students’ to perform better in their studies. The mean knowledge score based on a 21-point scale on the health benefits of PE was (13.0+3.5). There was a significant relationship between the mean knowledge score and age of the students with those who are older having a high level of knowledge (p<0.05). The study concludes that involvement in PE is common among secondary school students there is a need to improve their knowledge on the health benefits of PE. It is recommended that health education strategies such as advocacy and peer education and mass media be used to upgrade their knowledge about the therapeutic effects of PE.