World Move for Health Day

May 10 is World Move for Health Day, created by the World Health Organization, to promote physical well being. The South African slogan for the campaign is; 'Vuka South Africa, Move for your health'. The initiative encourages all South Africans to take responsibility for their health, by engaging in cost effective physical activities such as walking, regular exercise and other extramural activities. In order to improve and maintain health, at least 30 minutes of physical activity should be performed daily. A study conducted by the WHO in 2002, found that a lack of physical activity, is one of the main contributory risk factors to chronic diseases of lifestyle such as cardiovascular, diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the South African Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS), conducted among grade 8-10 pupils, showed that 17, 2% of adolescents are overweight, and more females (5.3%) than males (2.2%) were obese.

Unfortunately due to changes and advances in the world we live in, such as television, video games, and computers, there has been a decline in physical activity amongst children and it may be challenging to get your child active. According to a recent study in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal, children do not engage in enough physical activity due to intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional and environmental barriers. Preferring to engage in other activities, such as playing video games and being fearful of being teased about their weight are both regarded as interpersonal barriers. Intrapersonal barriers may include friends who are inactive or family obligations. A heavy workload at school is an example of an institutional barrier. Environmental barriers could include poor weather conditions or a lack of transportation.