Aim. This paper reports a study whose main aim was to understand the correlation between stages of exercise and health-related qualities of life among overweight and obese adults in Taiwan.
Background. Regular exercise has been shown to improve health-related quality of life in the general population and among patients with chronic diseases. Nevertheless, systematic investigations of the correlation between exercise stages and the health-related quality of life among overweight and obese adults are lacking in Taiwan.
Method. A cross-section of people from the weight loss clinics of a medical centre in Taipei was recruited to the study. The Chinese version of the Stages of Exercise and the Taiwanese version of Short Form 36 questionnaires were used to collect data from those whose body mass indexes were equal to or >24 kg/m2. The data were collected in 2003.
Results. In total, 212 overweight and obese adults participated in the study. The majority were in the preparation (38·2%) or contemplation (31·6%) stages of exercise; relatively few were in the action (14·2%) or maintenance (11·3%) stages, and the smallest number (4·7%) were in the precontemplation stage. Although over 70% of respondents were not in the habit of taking regular exercise, their motivations were very high. For the Short Form 36 scales, the highest scores were for physical functioning (84·5 ± 17·3), while the lowest were for general health (55·5 ± 20·9), vitality (59·8 ± 18·1), and mental health (MH) (66·0 ± 17·9). Different stages of exercise showed statistically significant differences within the eight domains of Short Form 36 (Wilks = 0·733, P = 0·001); a statistically significant difference was also found for physical functioning (P ≤ 0·001), general health (P = 0·003), and vitality (P = 0·005).
Conclusion. Since stages of exercise are correlated with health-related quality of life among overweight and obese adults, healthcare providers need to understand what stages people are at in order to educate them to achieve a better quality of life and to motivate those who are inactive to do more exercise on a regular basis.