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Gallagher, K I.1; Jakicic, J M. FACSM1; Ferguson, E S.1; Napolitano, M1; Marcus, B H.1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S253
F-12B Free Communication/Slide Behavior and Weight Loss

1University of Pittsburgh, Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School, Pittsburgh, PA and Providence, RI


Perceived barriers to exercise have been shown to be related to adoption of physical activity.

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This study examined differences in self-reported exercise barriers between individuals adopting and maintaining varying doses of exercise during a period of weight loss.

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One hundred fifty four overweight (BMI=32.6+/−4.2 kg/m2), sedentary women (age=37.7+/−5.4 years) completed the initial 6 months of a behavioral weight loss program that included dietary and exercise recommendations. Subjects kept daily logs of physical activity which were returned to investigators weekly. Based on exercise log data, subjects were categorized into one of three groups: < 150 min/wk of activity, 150–200 min/wk or >200 min/wk of physical activity for months 0–6 and 7–12. A questionnaire regarding perceived barriers (Steinhardt & Dishman, 1989) was administered at baseline and 6 months.

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Individuals engaging in 150 min/wk of activity during months 0–6 showed the lowest absolute number of total barriers and effort barriers (too lazy, lack of motivation, too tired, etc.) at 6 months as well as the greatest reduction in total barriers and effort barriers from baseline to 6 months (p < 0.05). In addition, individuals who were exercising >200 min/wk during months 7–12 reported significantly lower total and effort barriers at 6 months than those exercising 150–200 min/wk or < 150 min/wk (p < 0.05).

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These data suggest that individuals reporting greater perceived total barriers and effort barriers are less likely to meet the Surgeon General's recommendation of 150 min/wk of exercise for health benefits. In addition, lower perceived barriers may be necessary for maintenance of higher amounts of physical activity long-term. Thus, developing strategies to assist overweight individuals with identifying and overcoming these perceived barriers is warranted. Supported by the National Institutes of Health (HL64991)

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine