Epidemiology of physical inactivity in Nigeria: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Davies Adeloye, Janet O Ige-Elegbede, Asa Auta, Boni M Ale, Nnenna Ezeigwe, Chiamaka Omoyele, Mary T Dewan, Rex G Mpazanje, Emmanuel Agogo, Wondimagegnehu Alemu, Muktar A Gadanya, Michael O Harhay, Akindele O Adebiyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Physical activity is crucial to preventing noncommunicable diseases. This study aimed to provide up-to-date evidence on the epidemiology of insufficient physical activity across Nigeria to increase awareness and prompt relevant policy and public health response.

METHODS: A systematic literature search of community-based studies on physical inactivity was conducted. We constructed a meta-regression epidemiologic model to determine the age-adjusted prevalence and number of physically inactive persons in Nigeria for 1995 and 2020.

RESULTS: Fifteen studies covering a population of 13 814 adults met our selection criteria. The pooled crude prevalence of physically inactive persons in Nigeria was 52.0% (95% CI: 33.7-70.4), with prevalence in women higher at 55.8% (95% CI: 29.4-82.3) compared to men at 49.3% (95% CI: 24.7-73.9). Across settings, prevalence of physically inactive persons was significantly higher among urban dwellers (56.8%, 35.3-78.4) compared to rural dwellers (18.9%, 11.9-49.8). Among persons aged 20-79 years, the total number of physically inactive persons increased from 14.4 million to 48.6 million between 1995 and 2020, equivalent to a 240% increase over the 25-year period.

CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive and robust strategy that addresses occupational policies, town planning, awareness and information, and sociocultural and contextual issues is crucial to improving physical activity levels in Nigeria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • Nigeria
  • epidemiology
  • noncommunicable diseases
  • physical inactivity
  • prevalence
  • risk


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