Promoting Men’s Health in a Community Evidence-Informed Strategies Focused on Physical Activity and Lifestyle Habits

Main Article Content

Shabnam Johnson
Karen Bodenstein
Corlia Janse van Vuuren
Riette Nel


Background: Physical activity (PA) and healthy lifestyle habits directly influence physical health and reduce the risk for chronic lifestyle diseases. An interdisciplinary, community-based approach, informed by baseline
information on PA and lifestyle habits, can play an important role in promoting men’s health.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine and describe PA levels and lifestyle habits of a sport and non-sport group of adult males and determine whether an association existed between PA levels and lifestyle habits.

Method: A quantitative research design was used in this case-control study. Data was collected using a self-developed demographic questionnaire and two standardised questionnaires, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire—Short Form (IPAQ-SF) and the Belloc and Breslow Seven Lifestyle Habits Questionnaire.

Results: A total of 102 males aged between 25 and 35 years were included in this study. The only comorbidity reported was hypertension (5.9%). The self-reported PA levels of 51% of the participants in the sport group were classified as health-enhancing, while 27.5% of the participants in the non-sport group were classified as inactive. The two groups were comparable regarding healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating breakfast, not smoking and minimal alcohol consumption. However, cross tabulation of PA levels with lifestyle habits showed that no participant in the sport group exhibited low levels of PA combined with poor lifestyle habits.

Conclusion: The baseline information on PA and lifestyle habits of males obtained in this study supports the suggested strategies for healthcare professionals. Through these strategies, healthcare professionals can support communities to increase their PA levels and educate them on healthy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Johnson, S., Bodenstein, K., Janse van Vuuren, C., & Nel, R. (2022). Promoting Men’s Health in a Community : Evidence-Informed Strategies Focused on Physical Activity and Lifestyle Habits. International Journal of Mens Social and Community Health, 5(3), e15-e32.
Author Biographies

Shabnam Johnson, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Karen Bodenstein, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Corlia Janse van Vuuren, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Riette Nel, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Department of Biostatistics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


1. Muller DC, Murphy N, Johansson M, Ferrari P, Tsilidis K.K., Boutron-Ruault, M, et al. Modifiable causes of premature death in middle-age in western Europe: Results from the EPIC cohort study. BMC Med. 2016;14(87):1–11.
2. Philip PM, Kannan S, Parambil NA. Community-based interventions for health promotion and disease prevention in non-communicable diseases: A narrative review. J Educ and Health Promot. 2018;7:141.
3. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Health at a glance 2021: OECD indicators. Paris, France: OECD Publishing; 2021.
4. United Nations (UN). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development [Internet]. 2015. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
5. Keates AK, Mocumbi AO, Ntsekhe M, Sliwa K, Stewart S. Cardiovascular disease in Africa: Epidemiological profile and challenges. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2017;14(5):273-293. Epub 2017 Feb 23.
6. Gray A, Vawda Y. Health legislation and policy. In: Rispel LC, Padarath A, editors. South African Health Review 2018. Durban: Health Systems Trust. 2018;1-11. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
7. Carraro E, Schilir T, Biorci F, Romanazzi V., Degan R., Buonocore D, et al. Physical activity, lifestyle factors and oxidative stress in middle age healthy subjects. Int J Environ Res. 2018;15(6):1152).
8. Moore SC, Patel AV, Matthews CE, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Park Y, Katki HA, et al. Leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity and mortality: A large pooled cohort analysis. PLoS Med. 2012;9(11):e1001335. Epub 2012 Nov 6.
9. Wada T, Hasegawa Y, Osaki T, Ban H. Of the three classifications of healthy lifestyle habits, which one is the most closely associated with the prevention of high blood pressure? HEP. 2013;40(4):7–13.
10. Narain S, Mathye D. Do physiotherapists have a role to play in the sustainable development goals? A qualitative exploration. S Afr J Physiother. 2019;75(1):466.
11. Bloemhoff HJ. Gender- and race-related physical activity levels of South African university students. Afr J Phys Activity Health Sci. 2010;16(4):25–35.
12. Pengpid S, Peltzer K. Physical inactivity and associated factors among university student in South Africa. Afr J Phys Health Educ Recreation Dance 2013;19(1):143–153.
13. Noorbhai MH. A public health approach to increase physical activity and health education: The Biokinetic Humanitarian Project. Afr J Phys Health Educ Recreation Dance 2013;19(4):993–998.
14. Pringle A, Zwolinski S, McKenna J, Robertson S, Daly-Smith A, White A. Health improvement for men and hard-to-engage-men delivered in English Premier League football clubs. Health Educ Res. 2014;29(3):503–520. Epub 2014 Mar 21.
15. World Health Organization (WHO). Basic documents, 49th ed [Internet]. 2020. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
16. Durstine J, Moore GE. ACSM's exercise management for persons with chronic diseases and disabilities, 2nd ed. Indianapolis, IN: American Collage of Sport Medicine; 2017.
17. Melekoğlu T, Sezgin, E, Işin A, Tűrk A. The effects of a physically active lifestyle on the health of former professional football players. Sports. 2019;7(75):1–13.
18. Patel H, Alkhawam H, Madanieh R, Shah N, Kosmas CE, Vittorio TJ. Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World J Cardiol. 2017;9(2):134–138.
19. Vancampfort D, Stubbs B, Probst M, Mugisha J. Physiotherapy for people with mental health problems in sub-Saharan African countries: A systematic review. Arch Physiother. 2018;8:2.
20. Walkeden S, Walker KM. Perceptions of physiotherapists about their role in health promotion at an acute hospital: A qualitative study. Physiotherapy (United Kingdom). 2015;101(2):226–231.
21. Holm I, Tveter AT, Moseng T, Dagfinrud H. Does outpatient physical therapy with the aim of improving health-related physical fitness influence the level of physical activity in patients with long-term musculoskeletal conditions? Physiotherapy (United Kingdom). 2015;101(3):273–278.
22. O'Donoghue G, Cusack T, Doody C. Contemporary undergraduate physiotherapy education in terms of physical activity and exercise prescription: Practice tutors' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Physiotherapy. 2012;98(2):167–173.
23. Kime N, Pringle A, Zwolinsky S, Vishnubala D. How prepared are healthcare professionals for delivering physical activity guidance to those with diabetes? A formative evaluation. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020; 20(8):1–12.
24. Losper TS. Physical activity and lifestyle aspect of female students at a tertiary institution. Unpublished Master's dissertation [Internet]. Bloemfontein, South Africa: University of the Free State; 2013. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
25. World Health Organization (WHO). Launch of new global estimates on levels of physical activity in adults [Internet]. 2018. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from:
26. Albert FA, Crowe MJ, Malau-Aduli, AEO, Malau-Aduli BS. Physical activity promotion: A systematic review of the perceptions of healthcare professionals. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:4358.
27. Olson R, Piercy K, Troiano R, Ballard RM, Fulton JE, Galuska DA, et al. Physical activity guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.
28. Garber C, Blissmer B, Deschenes M, Franklin BA, Lamonte MJ, Lee IM, et al. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(7):1334–1359.
29. Riebe D, Ehrman J, Liguori G, Magar M. ACSM guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2018.
30. World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT). How to measure physical activity [Internet]. n.d. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
31. Prince SA, Rasmussen CL, Biswas A, Holtermann A, Aulakh T, Merucci K, et al. The effect of leisure time physical activity and sedentary behaviour on the health of workers with different occupational physical activity demands: A systematic review. J Behav Nutr Phys Activity. 2021;18:100.
32. Nolan VT, Sandada M, Surujlal J. Perceived benefits and barriers to physical exercise participation of first year university students. Afr J Phys Health Educa Recreation Dance. 2011;September (Supplement 1):56–69.
33. Gray CM, Hunt K, Mutrie N, Anderson AS, Leishman J, Dalgarno L, et al. Football fans in training: The development and optimization of an intervention delivered through professional sports clubs to help men lose weight, become more active and adopt healthier eating habits. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:232. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from: doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-232
34. Hunt K, Gray CM, Maclean A, Smillie S, Bunn C, Wyke S. Do weight management programmes delivered at professional football clubs attract and engage high risk men? A mixed-method study. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:50. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from: doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-50.
35. Pringle AR, Zwolinsky S, Lozano-Sufrategui L. Investigating the delivery of health improvement interventions through professional football club community trusts – Strengths and challenges. Public Health Prac. 2021;2(100104):1–9.
36. Carroll P, Richardson N, Harrison M, Roberson S, Kelly L, Keohane A, et al. Men on the move: A community-based physical activity programme for adult men in Ireland. Evaluation report: Executive summary. Dublin, Ireland: Health Service Executive [Internt]. 2019. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from:
37. Strobl H, Brew-Sam N, Curbach J, Metz B, Tittlbach S, Loss J. Action for men: Study protocol of a community capacity building intervention to develop and implement gender-sensitive physical activity programs for men 50 plus. Front Public Health. 2020;8(4):1–9.
38. Trivedy C, Vlaev I, Seymour R, Philpott M. An evaluation of opportunistic health checks at cricket matches: The boundaries for Life initiative. Sport Soc. 2017;20(2):226–234.
39. Bullock GS, Perera N, Murray A, Orchard J, Arden NA, Filbay SR. The relationship between cricket participation, health, and wellbeing: A systematic scoping review. Int J Sports Med. 2022;43(05):401–410. 10.1055/a-1686-6632
40. International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Guidelines for data processing and analysis of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) – Short form; 2004 [Internet]. [cited 2021 July 20]. Available from:
41. Craig CL, Marshall AL, Sjöström M, Bauman AE, Booth ML, Ainsworth BE, et al. International physical activity questionnaire: 12-Country reliability and validity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35(8):1381–1395.
42. Belloc N, Breslow L. Relationship of physical health status and health practices. Prevent Med. 1972;1(3):409–421.
43. Dreyer L, Strydom GL, Van Der Merwe S. The relationships between physical activity, lifestyle and health. ICHPER J. 1997;33(2):15–18.
44. Yokokawa H, Goto A, Sanada H, Watanabe T, Felder RA, Jose PA, et al. Achievement status toward goal blood pressure levels and healthy lifestyles among Japanese hypertensive patients; cross-sectional survey results from Fukushima Research of Hypertension (FRESH). Intern Med. 2011;50(11):1149–1156. Epub 2011 Jun 1.
45. Wada T, Hasegawa Y, Osaki T, Ban H. Among three sets of recommended healthy lifestyle habits, which one is most closely associated with prevention of hyperuricemia in Japanese? Ningen Dock Int. 2015;2(2):76–83.
46. Bryer J, Cherkis F, Raman J. Health-promotion behaviours of undergraduate nursing students: A survey analysis. Nurs Educ Perspect. 2013;1 (December):410–416. PMID: 24475604.
47. Li Y, Pan A, Wang DD, Liu X, Dhana K, Franco OH, et al. Impact of healthy lifestyle factors on life expectancies in the US population. Circulation (American Heart Association). 2018;138(4):345–355. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047
48. Borgan SM, Jassim GA, Marhoon ZA, Ibrahim MH. The lifestyle habits and well-being of physicians in Bahrain: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:655.
49. Xiao H, Doolan-Noble F, Liu L, White A, Baxter D. Men’s health research in New Zealand: A scoping review. Int J Men Soc Community Health. 2022;5(SP1):1–28.
50. Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Croft JB, Xu F, Cunningham TJ, Greenlund KJ. Relationship between sleep duration and self-reported health-related quality of life among US adults with or without major chronic. Sleep Health: J Natl Sleep Found. 2018;4(3):265–272.
51. Spence C. Breakfast: The most important meal of the day? Int J Gastronomy Food Sci. 2017;8:1–6.
52. Punjani N, Flannigan R, Black N, Goldenberg L. Predictors of unhealthy alcohol consumption behaviour in Canadian men. Int J Men Soc Community Health. 2019;2(1):e33–e44.
53. Elflein J. Alcohol use in persons aged 12 or older in the US by age 2020 [Internet]. Statista. 2022. [cited 2022 May 4]. Available from: on 4 May 2022.
54. Statistics South Africa. South Africa demographic and health survey 2016 [Internet]. 2016. [cited 2021 Jan 12]. Available from:
55. Elflein J. Percentage of tobacco smokers worldwide from 2000–2025, by age [Internet]. Statista. 2020. [cited 2022 May 4]. Available from:
56. Bezner JR. Promoting health and wellness: Implications for physical therapist practice. Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2016;96(1):123.
57. Forrester S, Arterberry C. Student attitudes toward sports and fitness activities after graduation. Recreat Sports J. 2006;30(2):87–99.
58. American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM). ACSM guidelines for exercise testing and prescription, 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2017.
59. Kaminsky LA, Montoya AHK. Physical activity and health: What is the best dose? J Am Heart Assoc. 2014;(3):5–8.
60. Kyu HH, Bachman VF, Alexander LT, Mumford JE, Afshin A, Estep K, et al. Physical activity and risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke events: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. BMJ. 2016;354(i3857).
61. Leone JE, Rovito MJ, Gray KA. Practical strategies for improving men’s health: maximizing the patient-provider encounter. Int J Men’s Soc Community Health 2021;4(1):e1–e16. :
62. Boakye H, Quartey J, Baidoo NAB, Ahenkorah J. Knowledge, attitude and practice of physiotherapists towards health promotion in Ghana. Sou Afr J Physiother. 2018;74(1):443.
63. Elsborg P, Nielsen G, Klinker CD, Melby PS, Christensen JH, Bentsen P. Sports-based recreation as a means to address social inequity in health: Why, when, where, who, what, and how. BMC Public Health. 2019;19:1084.
64. Zwolinski S, McKenna J, Pringle A, Daly-Smith A, Robertson S, White A. Optimizing lifestyles for men regarded as ‘hard-to-reach’ through top-flight football/soccer clubs. Health Educ Res. 2023;28(3):405–413. [cited 2022 Oct 12]. Available from: