Andrew Owusu, Peggy O’Hara Murdock, and Norman L. Weatherby

Global School-Based Student Health Survey: Monitoring Health and Physical Activity Behavior of Africa’s Youth
Andrew Owusu – Peggy O’Hara Murdock – Norman L. Weatherby

Physical activity (including sports participation) for youth is often regarded as a means of encouraging healthy behaviors and reducing risky behaviors. Recognizing this, in the US the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)* has been administered biennially to high school students as a means of assessing adolescent health behaviors including physical activities, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, tobacco use, and unintentional and intentional injury activities. In 2001, the Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS)**, which is similar to the YRBS, was developed through a collaboration involving WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNAIDS AND CDC. The GSHS is a contribution to the WHO STEPwise approach to Surveillance. By 2006 twelve African countries through their Ministries of Health and or Educat ion, had initiated GSHS activities. Four countries have completed and submitted final GSHS reports. Ghana has recently initiated GSHS activities and plans to implement the surveillance tool in the spring of 2007. This surveillance effort will help concerned entities in Ghana by; 1) helping develop priorities, establish programs, and advocate for resources; 2) establishing trends in the prevalence of health behaviors and protective factors and; 3) allowing Ghana and international agencies to make com parisons across countries. During the presentation at this workshop, discussion and questions will center on the following:
1) Provide an overview of the GSHS questions relevant to sport and health professionals in African countries for assessing physical activity patterns. 2) Provide information supported by data about specific risk and protective factors for youth from African countries where the GSHS is currently available. 3) Review a model, based on the Ghana experience, concerni ng the initiation and implementation of the GSHS in countries who have not yet adopted this surveillance instrument.

*Directed by Laura Kann, also technical advisor for GSHS
**Directed by Leanne Riley (WHO) with technical and Laura Kann (CDC)


Andrew OwusuAndrew Owusu
Middle Tennessee State University

Dr. Owusu is an assistant Professor of Public Health Education in the Health & Human Performance Department at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His Master’s degree is in Sports Administration and Management from Wayne St ate College and his PhD in Health and Human Performance is from Middle Tennessee State University. His research interests include youth health risk behaviors, technology and health education and, classroom response systems. Dr. Owusu was the lead author of HealthNOW®, a web-based behavior change instrument (Thomson Publishing, Belmont, CA 2006). A native of Ghana, Dr. Owusu is the country coordinator for implementation of the Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS) in Ghana. He has d irected a number of international sports-related programs in Ghana at the elite and public school level. On the competitive side, he is a 4-Time African champion in the triple jump including two gold medals at the All-Africa Games (1999, 2003). In addition, he is a 3-Time Olympian (1996, 200, 2004), an 8-Time All American in the long and triple jump, and a 1998 Commonwealth Games silver medalist

Peggy O'Hara MurdockPeggy O’Hara Murdock
Dr. O’Hara Murdock is a Professor of Public Health Education in the Health & Human Performance Department at Middle Tennessee State University. She received her B.S. in English and Health & Physical Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her Master’s degree and PhD in Health Education were fr om the University of Pittsburgh. She has held faculty positions at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the University of Miami School of Medicine conducting research and teaching courses in epidemiology and health behavior change theory. At Carnegie Mellon University, she coached both women and men’s intercollegiate tennis teams. As a public health researcher  she has conducted studies of health risk and protective behaviors of adolescents a nd women in Zambia and South Africa beginning in 1992. Her publications include journal articles on various aspects of adolescent health risk and protective behaviors in Zambia, including gender differences, tobacco use, HIV/AIDS risks and physical activity. Publications from her South African studies focus on peer education as an intervention model for health behavior change. A number of her publications have used the CDC surveillance instrument, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. She is currently coll aborating on studies that develop surveillance of youth health behaviors in Ghana, West Africa using the Global School Health Survey.

Subscribe to stay informed

Our Partners & Sponsors