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Int J Prev Med. 2010 Spring;1(2):131-7.

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

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  • 1Professor of Pediatrics, Departmentof Pediatric Preventive Cardiology, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Isfahan, Iran.



This study was conducted to explore the barriers to physical activity in a representative sample of Iranian children and adolescents.


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 indepth interviews. The quantitative part comprised 600 randomly selected students.


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 selfworth 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.


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 improve learning, 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.


Barriers; Iran; Pediatric; Physical activity; Prevention

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