Physical Activity Level and Adiposity: Are they Associated with Primary Dysmenorrhea in School Adolescents?

Fatai A. Maruf, Nonyelum V. Ezenwafor, Suleman O. Moroof, Ade F. Adeniyi, Emmanuel C. Okoye


Information on self-reported physical activity (PA) level in association with primary dysmenorrhea (PD) is not readily available on African populations, and there is a dearth of information on the association of adiposity with PD. This study explored the association of PA and adiposity indices with PD and associated menstrual pain. This cross-sectional study involved 1383 female adolescents from 12 randomly selected secondary schools (9 private and 3 public schools). They were categorized into <1 hour/day or ≥ 1 hour/day of PA based on their reported average duration of PA per day. The adiposity [body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC)] was assessed using standardized procedures. Majority of participants (85.4%) in this study sample reported experiencing PD. More participants without PD engaged in PA for more than one hour daily than those with PD (X2=11.49; p=0.001). The participants with PD experienced menstrual pain mostly (55.1%) during menstruation and the mostly reported pain intensity was moderate (38.7%). Majority of those (80.5%) who had menstrual pain did not report using medication for the pain. 77.0% of those who used medication reported having pain relief. Waist circumference, BMI and PA level showed no independent association (p>0.05) with either PD or its pain intensity experienced among the adolescents. PA level and adiposity are not associated with PD in school adolescents. (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[4]: 167-174).

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