Perception and Misperception of Health Enhancing Physical Activity among Urban Community Dwellers in Ibadan, Nigeria: Profiling the Underestimators, the Overestimators, and the Realists

  •  Ade Adeniyi    
  •  Omoyemi Ogwumike    
  •  Faola Adewumi    


BACKGROUND: The ability to initiate and sustain health enhancing behaviour including physical activity requires appropriate self-perception of such activities. This study was conducted to investigate whether a group of Nigerian urban community dwellers are able to demonstrate a good perception of their physical activity behaviour.

METHODOLOGY: The study was a cross-sectional survey of 1,153 urban community dwellers from three local government areas of Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. Physical activity perception was assessed first; by self-rating of their physical activity based on a moderate-level physical activity vignette, followed by comparison with a more objective measure using the Short Questionnaire to Assess Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (SQUASH). Participants were thereafter classified as underestimators, overestimators, realistic actives or realistic inactives. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, with the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on physical activity perception of participants tested with multiple logistic regression analyses at p<0.05.

RESULTS: A total of 604 (52.4%) of the community dwellers were physically inactive, but only 269 (23.3%) correctly rated themselves as inactive, 335 (29.1%) participants overestimated their physical activity level and 2.7% underestimated theirs. The odds of overestimation of physical activity was higher in middle-aged participants (OR=2.16; 95% CI=1.75-3.11) but lower among female participants (OR=0.58; 95% CI=0.30-0.79). Being a realistic inactive was associated with increasing age, female gender and higher income.

CONCLUSIONS: About half of the community dwellers were physically inactive with about half of them having a misperception of their activity levels. Misperceptions and realities about physical activity were generally linked to sociodemographic characteristics. A specially designed educational intervention programme may provide more insight to the community dwellers about their physical activities.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.