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Open AccessArticle

Barriers and Facilitators of Physical Activity in Children of a South Asian Ethnicity

Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
Vision and Eye Research Unit, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 761;
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity as a Means of Culture, Leisure and Free Time)
Children of South Asian ethnicity residing in England have low levels of physical activity. Limited literature exists on correlates, barriers, and facilitators to activity in South Asian children. The aim of this study was to fill this gap in the literature. Interviews were conducted with 10 parents of South Asian ethnicity residing in the UK. Interviews covered a description of the family setup, participants’ opinions of physical activity including barriers and facilitators and their children’s participation, as well as approaches to general parenting, and how children spend their free time. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Key themes identified included (i) restraints on parents’ and children’s time to be physically active; (ii) the role of the family in children’s physical activity participation; (iii) situational barriers to physical activity; (iv) physical activity not a priority; (v) opportunities to be active; and (vi) perception of activity level and health. A number of key barriers to South Asian children’s participation in physical activity were identified, including (i) restraints on parents and children’s time; (ii) parents providing limited support for physical activity; and (iii) physical activity having a low priority. A number of facilitators were also identified (i) play; (ii) school-time; and (iii) extra-curricular clubs. In this sample of South Asian parents residing in the UK several socio-cultural barriers and facilitators of their children’s physical activity have been identified. The study provides preliminary data for a larger study to ascertain if such barriers and facilitators are representative of the wider South Asian community, so that recommendations for intervention and policies can be made. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; health; schoolchildren physical activity; health; schoolchildren
MDPI and ACS Style

Smith, L.; López Sánchez, G.F.; Díaz Suárez, A.; Stubbs, B.; Dowling, M.; Scruton, A.; Roberts, J.; Johnstone, J.; Pardhan, S. Barriers and Facilitators of Physical Activity in Children of a South Asian Ethnicity. Sustainability 2018, 10, 761.

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