Barriers and motivating factors of physical activity
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Barriers and Motivating Factors of Physical Activity. Liz Costa and Emily Hyman. Obesity epidemic. Overweight and obesity is a global problem; 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese In 2011, CDC’s budget included $300M for chronic disease prevention and health promotion

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Obesity epidemic
Obesity epidemic

  • Overweight and obesity is a global problem; 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese

  • In 2011, CDC’s budget included $300M for chronic disease prevention and health promotion

  • Despite investment, gap exists between knowledge and action

Why qualitative research
Why qualitative research?

  • Deeper understanding needed of how to encourage ongoing physical activity

  • When common barriers are removed, what are true motivators/hindrances to physical activity?

Qualitative approaches
Qualitative approaches

  • Emily

  • Semi-structured

  • & open-ended

  • interviews

  • Purposive

  • sampling

  • Codes both

  • emergent and

  • predetermined


  • Semi-structured interviews

  • Snowball sampling

  • Screening questions

  • Codes both emergent and predetermined


  • Less than 10% of the study population was engaging in physical

  • activity in early adulthood

  • Stages of Change Model: shows movement between preparation, action

  • and maintenance

Gordon-Larsen P, Nelson MC, Popkin BM. Longitudinal physical activity and sedentary behavior trends: adolescence to adulthood.Am J Prev Med.2004;27 :277– 283

Key themes liz
Key themes - Liz

  • Parental involvement

    • “My Asian mother did not think basketball was a necessity.”

  • Social environment

    • “you were an outcast if you didn’t play some sort of sport or do dance.” – Participant A

  • Adult – physical activity can be exclusive of social motivator

    • “I would get home from work at 10pm- I needed something I could do on my own, not even relying on a gym”- Participant C

  • Engrained behavior over time

    • “between middle school and high school it [PA] became engrained into who I am, I will always come back to it at some point.”

Key themes emily
Key themes - Emily

  • Time is universal issue

  • Exercise viewed as treatment

  • Despite removing community barriers (e.g. access, childcare), individual barriers appear hardest to overcome

  • Social/community network needed to initiate and maintain physical activity

  • Health benefits understood, but self-image more likely to motivate exercise

Demands on time external push needed
Demands on time;external push needed

  • “When I got off work, I was tired. Mentally tired. I didn’t have time to exercise.”

    • “If you have a ‘buddy’ that persuades you and encourages you to go, that will make you keep a positive mindset and keep going.”

    • “My doctor told me I was in the obese category so I started working out.”

Exercise as a treatment
Exercise as a treatment

  • “My cousin exercises because she can reduce that big butt of hers. She NEEDS to lose weight.”

  • “People that smoke need to exercise. It is good for them. If I smoked, I would exercise.”

All women environment
All women environment

  • “In my culture, some men make you feel uncomfortable at the gym. Here, females feel comfortable when they walk in. Instead of judging them, you want to help them.”

    Family influence

  • “My cousins say they work out. But I never seen ‘em.”

  • “My family in North Carolina love to exercise. They have miles to walk there.”