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Patterns of Physical Activity in Arabic males: Barriers and Motivations to Adopting Healthy Lifestyles

Refaie, K (2013) Patterns of Physical Activity in Arabic males: Barriers and Motivations to Adopting Healthy Lifestyles. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The worldwide prevalence of obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in both adults and children and leading to increased risk of non-communicable diseases (WHO, 2004), including coronary heart disease, circulatory disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. In the UK, increasing levels of obesity may relate to a decrease in sport and physical activity participation as only 39% of males and 32% of females are sufficiently active to meet stated targets for physical activity (Townsend et al., 2012). In Britain, approximately 8% of the population originate from ethnic minorities that includes a high proportion of individuals from Arabic countries, with a significantly greater odds ratio for a sedentary leisure-time physical activity pattern than people from other countries. The thesis contains three studies which identify the patterns of physical activity in Arabic males (men and boys) in Liverpool, and explores the barriers and motivations to adopting physically active lifestyles, before addressing the feasibility of an intervention to enhance levels of physical activity.

Study 1 examined the patterns of physical activity in 62 Arabic men and 65 boys during 7 consecutive days of continuous accelerometry recording. Men and boys were more active during weekdays than weekend days. Although boys were more active than men, they did not perform sufficient minutes of moderate to vigorous activity (60 min per day) to reach recommendations of MVPA. The men, however completed 190 mins per week of activity in the moderate intensity category and therefore satisfied Government guidelines. Study 2 investigated the barriers and motivators in becoming physically active by using focus group semi-structured interview techniques, followed by transcription and content analysis. The findings of the study indicated that physical activity plays a significant role in the individual’s health and that Arabic males perceive several benefits of physical activity for the individual, such as self-confidence, mental health and improved physical condition. There was a mixed interpretation and understanding of physical activity in these groups, with barriers to becoming more active cited as lack of time and socio-cultural barriers of not being accustomed to being physically activity. Facilitators, that encouraged participants to become physically active, included religion and enjoyment. Study 3 used a mixed methods approach to investigate the feasibility of an awareness raising intervention to increasing the levels of physical activity in Arabic males who owned exergames at home. An intervention group of men and boys were provided with physical activity guidelines. Changes in their physical activity levels were measured (using accelerometry) 4 weeks after receiving the guidelines and compared with a control group. The intervention provoked more light activity, moderate and MVPA activity in the men but no reduction in their sedentary behaviour. In boys, light and moderate activity increased, sedentary behavior decreased, but there was no significant difference in MVPA levels. Semi-structured interviews showed that the men found physical activity guidelines alone were not sufficient to motivate them to change their physical activity levels, but the boys found the provision of these useful. Conclusion. This study demonstrated that Arabic men met recommendations for physical activity, whereas boys did not. Barriers to the adoption of physical activity revolved mainly around a lack of understanding of physical activity and guidelines. The intervention strategy was regarded as family-focused and entertaining but not useful in promoting sustainable change in physical activity levels.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Physical activity, Arab, Light, Moderate, MVPA
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 15:16
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:26
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00004432
Supervisors: Cable, T
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4432
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