• Open Access

Obesity as a barrier to physical activity

Authors


School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125 VIC Fax: (03) 9244 6017. Email: kball@deakin.edu.au

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: 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.

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

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSIONS: 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.

IMPLICATIONS: 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.

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