Determinants of physical activity in primary school students using the health belief model
Sireewat Ar-yuwat,1,2 Mary Jo Clark,2 Anita Hunter,3 Kathy S James2
1Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakhon Lampang (BCNLP), Lampang, Thailand; 2Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, 3Department of Nursing, Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA, USA
Background: Thailand is a middle-income country in which two-thirds of children demonstrate an insufficient level of physical activity. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for obesity and many other health-related consequences in children. Thus, it is important to understand how primary school children perceive things in their daily life as determinants of physical activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of cues, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers on the level of physical activity among primary school students.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Phitsanulok Province, Thailand, in 2011. Multistage sampling selected a total of 123 primary school students. The Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children and the Cues, Perceived Benefits, and Barriers to Physical Activity Questionnaire were used to assess the student levels of physical activity, as well as the perceived benefits, barriers, and cues to action. The association between these factors and the level of physical activity was determined by correlation statistics and confirmed by robust regression. Multivariate analysis of variance compared health belief model determinants: perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and cues to action on physical activity between male and female students. Self-administered questionnaires were validated and tested in a pilot study.
Results: The level of activity among primary school children was significantly influenced by perceived barriers, such as fear of strangers when playing outdoors, bad weather, and too much homework. However, activity was not influenced by cues to action or perceived benefits. Perceived benefits, barriers, and cues to physical activity did not differ by gender.
Conclusion: A safe environment and fewer barriers, such as amount of homework, could enhance physical activity in primary school children.
Keywords: physical activity, health belief model, primary school students, children, physical activity
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