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Self-Perceived Barriers to Activity Participation among Sedentary Adolescent Girls


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 534-540
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000189316.71784.dc
BASIC SCIENCES: Epidemiology

Purpose: Potential barriers to activity participation were surveyed among adolescent girls and corroborated with other reported information.

Methods: Among 2379 black and white girls enrolled in the NHLBI Growth and Health Study since ages 9 or 10 yr, those reporting weekly activity frequency as "sometimes" or "rarely" were surveyed for three consecutive years from ages 16 or 17 yr. Barriers to activity were assessed using a 10-item questionnaire. Responses were cross-examined with other reported information. Race-specific longitudinal regression examined the impact of barrier scores on activity levels and also potential factors having an impact on barrier scores.

Results: Approximately half of the cohort was screened as "sedentary" with a trend toward an increasing proportion with age. Lack of time was cited by 60% of sedentary girls as the leading barrier to activity participation for all 3 yr. Other frequently cited barriers to activity included "I'm too tired" and "They don't interest me." No differences were seen in hours at work or in household chores between those who cited lack of time and those who did not. Barrier score was a significant predictor of habitual activity scores. For both races, body mass index and "would rather do other things than exercise" were significant predictors of barriers, but work, parental education, TV watching, and childbirth were not significant.

Conclusion: Self-reported barriers to activity participation among sedentary girls were shown to be primarily internal and uncorrelated with other corresponding external factors.

1Department of Internal Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM; 2University Pittsburgh, Department of Epidemiology, Pittsburgh, PA; 3University of Maryland School of Medicine, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Baltimore, MD; 4University of Maryland, College Park, Departments of Public Health and Kinesiology, College Park, MD; 5Wesleyan University, Department of Psychology, Middletown, CT; and 6Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Address for correspondence: Sue Y. S. Kimm, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Department of Internal Medicine/Epidemiology, 1 University of New Mexico, MSC 10 5550, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2005.

Accepted for publication September 2005.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine