Physical Activity and Non-communicable Disease Risk Factors: Knowledge and Perceptions of Youth in a Low Resourced Community in the Western Cape

Sunday O. Onagbiye1, *, Rampou Mpai Tshidisegang Tshwaro1, Andrews Barry1, Young Marie1
1 Department of Sport, Recreation, and Exercise Science, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Onagbiye et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Sport, Recreation, and Exercise Science, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa; Tel: +27604840456; E-mail:



The youth's lack of knowledge and misconception on Physical Activity (PA) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) risk factors aid the growing burden of NCDs globally. This study explored the knowledge and perception of youth in a low-resource community in the Western Cape Province.


A qualitative methodological approach was used for data collection, using a qualitative exploratory study design. Convenience sampling was used to select participants, aged 18-35 years old from Vrygrond in the Western Cape Province. Focused group discussions were steered by means of a semi-structured interview questionnaire to guide the discussion about perceptions and knowledge of PA and NCDs risk factors. Discussions were analysed using Atlas.Ti8.


A total of 22 female youth participated in this study. The majority of the participants were single (86.3%), unemployed (63.6%) and secondary schooling (72.7%) of the highest level of education. Results indicated that the participants had little knowledge about PA, but lacked sufficient knowledge with regards to NCDs. Time constraints, lack of interest, low self-esteem, lack of awareness, safety, and financial constraints, knowledge deficit, parental influence, peer pressure, and poverty were seen as a barrier to physical activity and NCDs risk factor.


Findings from this study could formulate a policy at the provincial and national level, to provide cost-effective and sustainable educative program as an intervention which addresses youth misconception on physical activity and NCDs risks factor in the 21st century, especially among female youth residing in a low resource community in Western Cape.

Keywords: Physical activity, Non-communicable diseases, Knowledge and perceptions, Low resource community, Youth.