Physical activity levels and barriers to participation in year eight girls
Borthwick, Donna Sarah
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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This study aimed to establish, with regard to year 8 girls, whether they typically met the Health Education Authority’s (HEA) primary recommended guideline of participation in physical activity of at least moderate intensity for a minimum of one hour a day. Accompanying this was the purpose of identifying the barriers that restricted participation in recreational, extra-curricular and competitive physical activity as well as in physical activities that they do not currently do. One hundred participants were randomly selected from a single-sex grammar school and a mixed-sex high school in Ashford, Kent, to complete a questionnaire including a seven-day physical activity recall. Data collection took place during the week beginning the 29th November 2004. The findings of the research from the year 8 girls was that the number of minutes engaged in physical activity of at least moderate intensity was 172 ± 127.039 for the mixed-sex high school and 167 ± 140.881 for the single-sex grammar school girls. Statistical analysis however revealed that there was no significant difference between the two schools (P<0.644). The study identified that only 4% of girls participated in at least an hour of at least moderate intensity physical activity. Thus, this cohort of year 8 girls is currently not meeting the HEA primary recommendations for physical activity. This can be related to barriers restricting participation. Girls in the mixed-sex high school and the single-sex grammar school cited the barriers to participation in all types of physical activity respectively, as lack of time (35% and 30%), transport problems (25% and 13%) and expense (11% and 7%). Lack of peer participation also featured regularly as a restricting barrier to participation. From this study methods can be established to overcome the identified barriers, thus increasing physical activity levels among young people.
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