Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

"It is Like Medicine": Using Sports to Promote Adult Women's Health in Rural Kenya

Version 1 : Received: 30 January 2021 / Approved: 1 February 2021 / Online: 1 February 2021 (14:23:47 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Barchi, F.; AbiNader, M.A.; Winter, S.C.; Obara, L.M.; Mbogo, D.; Thomas, B.M.; Ammerman, B. “It Is Like Medicine”: Using Sports to Promote Adult Women’s Health in Rural Kenya. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2347. Barchi, F.; AbiNader, M.A.; Winter, S.C.; Obara, L.M.; Mbogo, D.; Thomas, B.M.; Ammerman, B. “It Is Like Medicine”: Using Sports to Promote Adult Women’s Health in Rural Kenya. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2347.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2347
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18052347

Abstract

Despite the well-documented health benefits of recreational sports, few opportunities exist in lower- and middle-income countries for adult women to participate in recreational physical activities. An explanatory sequential mixed methods approach was used to explore associations between an innovative soccer program for adult women and self-reported health status. Cross-sectional survey data were collected in 2018-2019 from 702 women in the Nikumbuke Project, a health and literacy program in southeastern rural Kenya, followed by focus group discussions with 225 women who also participated in the Project's soccer program. Quantitative findings suggest that women who participated in soccer had 67% greater odds of reporting good or excellent health than their non-soccer playing peers. Thematic analysis of qualitative data indicated that women credited soccer with less pain, fatigue, and stress, as well as weight loss and reduced dependence on medicine for hypertension, pain, and sleep problems. Women equated health benefits with greater ease and efficiency in completing chores, reduced worries, youthful energy, male-like strength, and pleased husbands. Soccer programs for adult women may be particularly effective interventions in settings where access to health care is limited and where lack of opportunity to engage in physical aerobic activity increases women's risks for poor health outcomes. .

Subject Areas

women's health; sports; non-communicable disease; obesity; physical activity; health promotion; mixed-methods; Africa

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