Nigerian academic, Dr Olusegun Olatunji Ojedoyin, graduated with a PhD in Physiotherapy.

Promoting Physical Activity to Reduce the Burden of Disease

Dr Olusegun Olatunji Ojedoyin who graduated with a PhD in Physiotherapy, investigated the use of physical activity to promote health in children and adults and reduce the burden of non-communicable chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Ojedoyin is a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria.

Supervised by Professor Pragashnie Govender and Doctors Thayananthee Nadasan and O.M. Olagbegi, the first phase of his study involved a systematic scoping review of the literature on countries’ compliance with the physical activity recommendations for children in SSA. The second explored knowledge and adherence to relevant policies among 94 stakeholders (parents/teachers/policymakers) in Nigeria, and the third phase investigated the prevalence of low levels of fitness and related risk factors, including the levels and patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviour among more than 700 primary school learners in Lagos.

‘The study revealed that high socio-economic status is a major predictor of reduced physical activity among learners aged six to 12. It also showed that increased weight and gender were the main predictors of low levels of physical fitness among the group of school children in Lagos,’ said Ojedoyin.

Prior to registering for his PhD, he worked as a physiotherapist in different hospitals in Lagos for more than two decades.

Ojedoyin said that his major challenge was being far from his family. ‘To overcome it, I became friendlier with people around me in Durban, and this was very interesting.’

He added that his experience at UKZN was very rewarding. ‘My supervisors were very knowledgeable and they guided me through the programme. One even brought groceries to my home during the looting in June 2021. I will never forget that!’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied