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Indian Heart J. 2000 May-Jun;52(3):301-6.

Practices and perceptions of physical activity in urban, employed, middle-class Indians.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, St John's Medical College, Bangalore.


The aim of this study was to describe the detailed physical activity profiles of educated, employed, urban Indians and to ascertain their knowledge about the benefits of exercise, their concept of 'ideal' exercise, and the constraints in achieving it. To this end, 401 subjects (193 males, 208 females) between the ages of 25 and 58 years were studied. Women were significantly more active than men (p < 0.05), largely due to enhanced household activity (p < 0.05), which was not offset by the higher leisure time-related exercise of males (p < 0.05). Over 50 percent of subjects were aware of the benefits of exercise in preventing heart disease. The subjects' perceptions of 'ideal' exercise, based on exercise programmes they had drawn up for themselves, were adequate in terms of frequency and duration, but inadequate in intensity, when compared with the current recommendations for exercise in primary prevention of coronary heart disease. Lack of time (men 53.4%, women 68.3%) and lack of motivation (men 26.4%, women 28.4%) were the most-often cited reasons for being unable to achieve 'ideal' exercise goals. The data provides an important framework for understanding physical activity profiles of urban, educated and employed Indians on the basis of which behavioural strategies can be formulated to enhance physical activity and reduce cardiovascular risk.

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