WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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Assessment of the Barriers to Participation of Older Persons in Physical Activity in Uganda

Last modified: 2012-02-07


This paper presents the barriers to participation of older persons in physical activities in the society of Uganda, the awareness of physical activity and the strategies that could help improve on their participation in society. The paper presents part of a PhD study conducted on the living experiences of elderly people in Uganda. The study covered eight districts, namely: Pallisa, Kampala, Jinja, Lira, Nebbi, Ntungamo, Luwero and Mbarara district. These districts represented both the rural and urban areas of the four regions of Uganda, which include: Western, Northern, Eastern and Central region.

The study was conducted in 2008/09 as an exploratory descriptive cross-sectional study that employed qualitative approach. Permission to carry out the study was sought from the Higher Degrees and Ethics committee in the University of Western Cape and from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology. The study used a purposive sampling technique to obtain the study sample. The participants were elderly people of age 60 and above. Data was collected using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews held with older persons, and administration of a validated interview schedule to key informants. The study looked at both the elderly from the rural and urban areas. Data was analyzed using content analysis and the descriptive method.

 Results obtained indicate that older persons faced a number of barriers that prevented their effective participation in physical activity. These included economic barriers, shortage of food, ill-health and negative attitudes towards physical activity among others. The economic barrier that constrained most of the older persons both from rural and urban areas was lack of financial income caused by poverty hence causing lack of access to health clubs to be able to do physical activity. 

There is need for government of Uganda to improve and implement the National Policy for Older Persons in a manner that ensures that all improvements required in their pathetic living conditions are addressed comprehensively and effectively.

 Key words:    Older Persons, Barriers, Participation, Physical Activity, Uganda

Acknowledgement: I wish to acknowledge DAAD and Makerere University Directorate of Research and Graduate Training for sponsoring the research. I also acknowledge the support of my mentor Professor Julie Phillips.





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