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Alsahli, Sultan Mohammed
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Middle Tennessee State University
A lack of physical activity has been linked to many negative health consequences. Why people do not exercise has become an important question. Perceived barriers to physical activity have become one means to determine why people limit their physical activity behavior. College students, particularly in Kuwait, have not been studied extensively to determine which internal and external barriers discourage them from being physically active. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify major perceived barriers to physical activity in students at Kuwait University. Moreover, this study estimated the amount of physical activity among Kuwait University students. The Socio-Ecological Model and the Theory of Planned Behavior guided the research in this study. Data was obtained from 1,123 students from Kuwait University using both the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and the Barriers to Physical Activity Questionnaire (BPAQ).
The results of the t-tests revealed that the strength of internal and external barriers to physical activity was greater among the females than the males. Moreover, chi-square tests showed that males with membership to sports clubs was significantly greater than females. However, the frequency of males who studied PE/health education was significantly less than females. T-tests found that lack of knowledge and lack of skills were a significantly greater barrier to physical activity for females than for males. A Partial Least Squares (PLS) analysis showed that gender and studying PE/health education did not predict an individual's lack of knowledge as a barrier to physical activity whereas gender and sports club membership predicted an individual's lack of skills as barrier to physical activity. Being female and not being a member of a sports club predicted more lack of skills as a barrier to physical activity.
According to a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), males tended to have significantly higher levels of overall physical activity than females. Furthermore, mean walking activity along with vigorous activity were higher among males than females, whereas the mean moderate activity tended to be lower among males than among females. A Multiple Linear Regression analysis found that gender and barriers to physical activity did not predict an individual's amount of walking activity or moderate physical activity. A Multiple Linear Regression analysis determined that gender, but not barriers to physical activity predicted an individual's amount of vigorous physical activity, meaning that being female predicted less vigorous physical activity. Finally, gender and external barriers to physical activity predicted an individual's amount of overall physical activity; being female and having external barriers predicted less overall physical activity.
The findings in this study should lead to appropriate program development and implementation to confront low physical activity levels and perceived barriers, particularly in Kuwait. As a substantial portion of the population, it is important to tailor intervention strategies to Kuwaiti university students to promote physical activity and minimize barriers. Program designers should shape policy and intervention with consideration to Kuwaiti culture and society as a solution to the lack of physical activity among Kuwaitis as a whole.
Barriers, Gender, Kuwait University, Physical Activity