Barriers to Physical Activity in a Population-based Sample of Children and Adolescents in Isfahan, Iran

Roya Kelishadi, Shohreh Ghatrehsamani, Mohsen Hosseini, Parisa Mirmoghtadaee, Samaneh Mansouri, Parinaz Poursafa


Objectives: This study was conducted to explore the barriers to
physical activity in a representative sample of Iranian children and
Methods: The study was conducted in 2007 in urban and rural
areas of Isfahan district in Iran. In the qualitative part, we used the
grounded theory approach, including semi-structured focus group
discussions and in-depth interviews. The quantitative part comprised
600 randomly selected students.
Results: The qualitative study included 34 school students (16
girls), 20 parents (11 mothers) and 11 school staff. All students
disclosed that studying was a priority. They pointed to lack of safe
and easy-access place for physical activity and unsupportive family
as the main barriers. Lack of self-confidence and low self-worth
were the two other concepts developed in this context. Parents
pointed to lack of safe and easy-access place for activity followed
by the priority of studying. The concepts derived from interviews
with school staff included unhealthy modeling of parents, priority
of studying, and inadequate public knowledge about how to integrate
physical activity in routine daily life. The quantitative survey
comprised 600 students including 286 (47.8%) girls. Parents’
education level had inverse association with children’s physical
activity level. Significant inverse associations of self-efficacy and
physical activity levels were documented.
Conclusions: Increasing the public knowledge about adopting
physical activity habits in routine daily life, informing the families
and students about the benefits of physical activity to improvelearning,
as well as providing safe places such as using the school
facilities in non-school hours should be considered in planning
effective preventive strategies and interventions.
Keywords: Physical activity; Pediatric; Barriers; Prevention; Iran.

Full Text: