Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Peter Giacobbi Jr.

Committee Co-Chair

Dana K. Boelker

Committee Member

Ed Jacobs


According to the World Health Organization, Africa has the highest rates of disease and child mortality in the world. Previous research suggests that sport may be an effective vehicle to enhance health knowledge and behaviors among at-risk youth. The primary purpose of this review was to analyze and synthesize published interventions exploring the use of sport or physical activity for health promotion with children and youth in Africa. A total of 916 articles were retrieved from ten electronic bibliographic databases with 28 meeting inclusion criteria. Targeted health outcomes in sport-based interventions included HIV-related knowledge and behaviors, essential health practices, physical and mental health, physical activity, and overall fitness levels. Statistically significant improvements in targeted health outcomes were observed in 23 of the 28 interventions included. However, the authors conducted risk of bias ratings for each study, and 23 articles were rated as having a “serious” or “critical” risk of bias. Our findings suggest that the use of sport- and physical activity as a health promotion intervention may be an effective with children and youth in Africa. However, future researchers must incorporate more rigorous methodological approaches, such as randomized controlled trials with wait-list control or crossover design.