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Article

“It Is Like Medicine”: Using Sports to Promote Adult Women’s Health in Rural Kenya

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Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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Office of Gender-Based Violence, School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
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School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
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School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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Village Voices, Kerugoya 10300, Kenya
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Nikumbuke Project, Lunga 80402, Kenya
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Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Thomas E. Dorner and Igor Grabovac
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2347; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052347
Received: 30 January 2021 / Revised: 20 February 2021 / Accepted: 23 February 2021 / Published: 27 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Exercise and Chronic Diseases Prevention)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: women’s health; sports; non-communicable disease; obesity; physical activity; health promotion; mixed-methods; Africa women’s health; sports; non-communicable disease; obesity; physical activity; health promotion; mixed-methods; Africa
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MDPI and ACS Style

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. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052347

AMA Style

Barchi F, AbiNader MA, Winter SC, Obara LM, Mbogo D, Thomas BM, Ammerman B. “It Is Like Medicine”: Using Sports to Promote Adult Women’s Health in Rural Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(5):2347. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052347

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barchi, Francis, Millan A. AbiNader, Samantha C. Winter, Lena M. Obara, Daniel Mbogo, Bendettah M. Thomas, and Brittany Ammerman. 2021. "“It Is Like Medicine”: Using Sports to Promote Adult Women’s Health in Rural Kenya" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 5: 2347. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052347

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