The relationships between leisure–time physical activity and health related parameters in executive employees of selected African countries
Leisure-time physical inactivity is a global public health concern affecting all people in different walks of life, including employees. This inactivity is associated with chronic diseases of lifestyle as well as low work capacity. The purpose of this study was two-fold: to determine leisure-time physical activity (LTPAI), coronary risk- (CRI), health status (HSI) and lifestyle (LSI) indexes of some executive employees in selected African countries; and to determine the effect of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) on the coronary risk-, health status- and lifestyle- indexes of some executive employees in selected African countries.A cross-sectional study design was followed on a group of 156 (mean age 41.22±10.17) executive employees. Participants were grouped according to age (<35 years; 36–46 years and > 46 years). Standardized questionnaires were used to collect data. Out of 156 participants in the study, 43% occupied top level management and 57% middle level management positions. When data were analyzed according to age groups, 31% and 69% in the less than 35 years age group were in the top and the middle level management, respectively. In the age group 36 to 46 years of age, 47% were in the top level of management and 52.8% middle level management. With regard to LTPA, top level managers (71.6%) scored low LTPA as compared to middle level managers (62.9%). Top level managers scored higher percentages (14.9%) for developing the risk of coronary heart disease. The results show a negative effect of physical activity on selected health parameters, with significant negative relationships between low LTPA and daily lifestyle index (r= -0.52; p=0.01), and moderate LTPA and daily lifestyle index (r= -0.71; p<0.001) for middle managers. It can be concluded that both top and middle level managers exhibited low LTPA and high risk for developing coronary heart disease. It was apparent that the managers in low LTPA are prone to bad stages of life style, health status and coronary risk- indexes compared to the ones with moderate and high LTPA. Additionally, low and moderate LTPA inversely affected selected health parameters of executive employees. No significant association was found for high LTPA with selected health parameters. The study therefore recommends a strategic intervention programme geared towards improving the present state of affairs among the managers in the corporate environment.