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Christina C. Loitz and Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere

Background:

Despite the health benefits associated with physical activity participation, activity levels of North American children are declining. In response, practitioners are placing emphasis on active forms of transportation to and from school. The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers and facilitators to active transportation to school (ATS) from the perspectives of practitioners.

Methods:

The perspectives of 19 practitioners (eg, health promoters, traffic engineers, police, etc.) from 3 communities in Alberta, Canada were captured using focus group interviews followed by content analysis.

Results:

Subthemes tied to barriers included logistics, lifestyle, safety, and lack of resources; while facilitators were comprised of collaboration, education, and leadership. The results were interpreted using an ecological model of health behavior.

Conclusion:

The most common ATS barriers: attitudes and safety concerns, lack of resources and time, and the nature of the natural and built environments were associated with the intrapersonal, organizational, and physical environmental factors, respectively. The most significant organizational facilitators concerned collaboration among parents, schools, businesses, community organizations, and government agencies. While the multifaceted nature of barriers and facilitators add complexity to the issue, it also challenges practitioners to think and act creatively in finding solutions.

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton and Margaret Schneider

Background:

Walking short distances provides a convenient opportunity to attain the health benefits of moderate-intensity physical activity. The present study tested the reliability and validity of an instrument designed to assess self-efficacy to overcome barriers to walking for transportation.

Methods:

A sample of 305 undergraduates, ages 18 to 46 y (mean = 20.6 y) (70.3% female), completed self-efficacy measures for travel-related walking and for vigorous exercise. Minutes of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity were assessed using a MTI accelerometer (n = 85).

Results:

Overall, subjects reported low levels of self-efficacy to overcome barriers to walking for transportation. The eight-item walking for transportation self-efficacy scale demonstrated good reliability, discriminant validity, and expected relations to physical activity criteria.

Conclusion:

The conceptual distinction between self-efficacy for travel-related walking and self-efficacy for vigorous exercise may have important implications for interventions seeking to promote moderate-intensity physical activity through walking for transportation.

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Ingrid H.M. Steenhuis, Steffie B.C. Nooy, Machiel J.G. Moes and Albertine J. Schuit

Background:

Physical activity levels in most affluent countries are low and many people do not meet the current recommendations. Particularly for people with a low income, economic strategies seem promising to stimulate taking part in sports activities. This study investigated the importance of economic restraints for taking part in sports activities as well as perceptions of low-income people toward different pricing interventions.

Methods:

A qualitative study was conducted, using semistructured, individual interviews with 27 low-income men and women. The framework approach was used to analyze the transcripts of the interviews.

Results:

The respondents considered finances to be an important barrier for participating in sports activities, together with some individual barriers. Promising pricing strategies are a discount on the subscription to the fitness or sports club, a 1 month free trial, and free entrance to the swimming pool once a week.

Conclusions:

Pricing strategies may be a promising intervention to increase physical activity levels of low-income people. However, this study indicates that this should be coupled with an intervention directed at individual barriers. Some pricing strategies will be used and appreciated more by low-income people than other pricing strategies. In addition, pricing strategies should be tailored to individual needs and preferences.

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Cristina M. Caperchione, Shirley Chau, Gordon J. Walker, W. Kerry Mummery and Cally Jennings

Background:

Gender is a sociocultural factor known to impact the physical activity (PA) behaviors of South Asians. The purpose of this research was to examine gender-associated perceptions of barriers and motivators for PA in a South Asian population living Canada.

Methods:

A random sample (N = 204) of South Asian Punjabi adults (18yrs+) completed a computer assisted telephone interview concerning their perceptions to PA participation. Content analysis was used to identify relevant main themes and chi-square analysis was used to calculate gender differences.

Results:

Results indicated that women more often reported a lack of time due to work and family (χ2 = 7.284, df = 1, P = .007) and a lack of motivation (χ2 = 4.982, df = 1, P = .026), yet men more often reported climate (χ2 = 7.045, df = 1, P = .008) as a barrier. Regarding motivators, men more often reported prevention and reduction of disease (χ2 = 4.451, df = 1, P = .034) and watching others perform (χ2 = 10.827, df = 1, P = .001); however, reducing weight gain (χ2 = 4.806, df = 1, P = .028) and looking like others (χ2 = 4.730, df = 1, P = .029) were reported more often by women.

Conclusions:

Gender-associated differences concerning PA are present in this population and must be considered in the design and implementation of effective interventions.

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Thomas Quarmby and Katie Pickering

Background:

It is argued that regular engagement in physical activity (PA) has the potential to mitigate the negative health and educational outcomes that disadvantaged children living in care frequently face. However, little is currently known about children in care’s participation in PA. This scoping review primarily aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to PA participation for children in care.

Methods:

The main phases of the scoping review were 1) identifying relevant studies; 2) selecting studies based on predefined inclusion criteria; 3) charting the data; and 4) collating, summarizing, and reporting the results. All relevant studies were included in the review regardless of methodological quality and design.

Results:

The 7 articles that met the inclusion criteria were published between 1998 and 2013 and conducted in the USA (3), England (2), and Norway (2). A social ecological model was incorporated to map results against levels of influence.

Conclusions:

Various factors influence PA engagement for children in care. Barriers include low self-efficacy, instability of their social environment, which impacts on schooling and maintaining friendship groups, and, specific institutional practices and policies that may prevent access to PA. Before fully considering policy implications, further research with children in care is warranted in this area.

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Ya-Wen Hsu, Chih-Ping Chou, Selena T. Nguyen-Rodriguez, Arianna D. McClain, Britni R. Belcher and Donna Spruijt-Metz

Background:

A profound decline in physical activity occurs in puberty. This phenomenon is not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine associations between family/friend social support for physical activity, negative meanings of physical activity (NMPA), and internal /external barriers to physical activity with moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and sedentary and light behavior (SLB) in youth.

Methods:

A total of 350 participants from 7 Los Angeles County middle schools participated in the study (62% Latina, 79% females). Hypothesized pathways were examined using structural equation modeling. Psychosocial variables and participation in MVPA and SLB were assessed by self-reported questionnaires.

Results:

NMPA were related to lower levels of family/friend social support and greater internal/external barriers. Family social support was the only significant indicator of MVPA (β = 0.79). Low family social support was related to higher SLB (β = −0.25).

Conclusions:

Family social support seems crucial to promote MVPA and reduce SLB in adolescents and might be influenced by child’s feelings about physical activity. Future research should consider the interrelationship between psychosocial correlates of physical activity.

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Jeremy A. Steeves, David R. Bassett, Eugene C. Fitzhugh, Hollie Raynor, Chi Cho and Dixie L. Thompson

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is enjoyable, but there are barriers to participation. TV viewing is highly enjoyable with limited barriers. Exercising while viewing TV may impact enjoyment, exercise self-efficacy, and barriers to PA, compared with exercising without TV.

Methods:

58 sedentary, overweight adults were randomized to 1 of 2 PA prescriptions: one that increased PA during TV viewing (TV Commercial Stepping), and another that focused solely on PA (Walking). Random effects models tested changes in enjoyment of TV and PA, exercise self-efficacy, and barriers to PA across time (baseline, 3, and 6 months) and PA prescription during a 6-month PA intervention.

Results:

At baseline, TV was more enjoyable than PA. Over the 6-month intervention, enjoyment of TV viewing did not change, but enjoyment of PA and exercise self-efficacy significantly increased, while barriers to PA significantly decreased for both groups compared with baseline (P < .05).

Conclusions:

While enjoyment of TV viewing remained constant, PA became more enjoyable, confidence to exercise increased, and barriers to being active were reduced for previously sedentary adults participating in a behavioral PA intervention. These findings highlight the importance of encouraging inactive adults to engage in some form of PA, whether it occurs with or without TV viewing.

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Kazuhiro Harada, Ai Shibata, Euna Lee, Koichiro Oka and Yoshio Nakamura

Background:

Although several studies have examined associations of perceived benefits and barriers with physical activity, no studies have focused on them corresponding to strength-training recommendations for older adults. This study examined the associations among the perceived health benefits of strength training, perceived barriers to strength straining, and stages of change for strength-training behavior in older Japanese adults.

Methods:

This cross-sectional survey included a random sample of 1144 adults (60–74 years) from the city of Tokorozawa. Stage of change was the independent variable, with perceived health benefits (eg, strength training can reduce body pain) and perceived barriers (eg, facilities are needed for strength training) as dependent variables. Data were analyzed by analysis of covariance and Bonferroni’s multiple comparison.

Results:

After adjusting for demographic variables, the perceived health-benefit score for precontemplation was significantly lower than for the other four stages. The perceived barrier scores in the precontemplation and contemplation stages were significantly higher than those in the preparation and maintenance stages.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that information about the health benefits for older adults and about the recommended type of strength training might be useful for the development of strategies to promote strength training among older adults.

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Mary Chace and Heather Vilvens

Background:

Shared use agreements (SUA) that allow the use of public school facilities by the community are recommended as a key public health strategy for increasing physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to examine the current nature and extent of SUA in Ohio, as well as school administrators’ perceived benefits, barriers and needs.

Methods:

School administrators were recruited to respond to an e-mail survey through the predominant state-level professional membership organization’s listserv in September 2013.

Results:

Respondents (n = 96) were mostly superintendents who reported a lower prevalence of formal SUA (38.5%) than informal (65.6%), with a total of 9.3% reporting neither formal nor informal SUA. The most commonly perceived benefits included improved relationships with taxpayers and community organizations and increased PA options. Top barriers were costs and liability concerns.

Conclusions:

According to this sample of school administrators, their doors are open to some extent, but the majority SUA were informal agreements. Advocacy efforts for SUA should include the passage of a state-level law that provides reasonable immunity from liability. Outreach to the school community should include examples of written formal agreements, innovative cost management examples, and updated research on the connection of PA to learning and academic performance.

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Shannon N. Zenk, Amy J. Schulz, Angela M. Odoms-Young, JoEllen Wilbur, Stephen Matthews, Cindy Gamboa, Lani R. Wegrzyn, Susan Hobson and Carmen Stokes

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).

Methods:

Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.

Results:

We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.

Conclusions:

Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.