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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2000 Jun;24(3):331-3.

Too fat to exercise? Obesity as a barrier to physical activity.

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School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Victoria.



To describe perceptions of being 'too fat' as a barrier to physical activity by gender and body mass index, and to examine the associations between feeling fat and other weight-related barriers to physical activity.


Analyses of cross-sectional self-report data from a representative population survey of 2,298 Australian adults.


Overall, 4.4% of respondents reported being too fat as a barrier to physical activity; this being more common among women (6.2%), and among the obese (22.6%). Associations were found between being too fat as a barrier, and being too shy or embarrassed to exercise; being too lazy or not motivated; having an injury or disability (males only); and being not the sporty type (females only). There was no association between feeling too fat and poor health.


Feeling too fat to exercise is a common barrier among the overweight, particularly for women. Results suggest gender differences in weight-related barriers to physical activity.


A better understanding of the nature of weight-related physical activity barriers can help inform public health strategies designed to increase physical activity among those who are obese.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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