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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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Presentation Transcript
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.”