Perceived Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Adolescents in Seven Arab Countries: A Cross-Cultural Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To highlight the perceived personal, social, and environmental barriers to healthy eating and physical activity among Arab adolescents. METHOD A multistage stratified sampling method was used to select 4698 students aged 15-18 years (2240 males and 2458 females) from public schools. Seven Arab counties were included in the study, namely, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. Self-reported questionnaire was used to list the barriers to healthy eating and physical activity facing these adolescents. RESULTS It was found that lack of information on healthy eating, lack of motivation to eat a healthy diet, and not having time to prepare or eat healthy food were the main barriers to healthy eating among both genders. For physical activity, the main barriers selected were lack of motivation to do physical activity, less support from teachers, and lack of time to do physical activity. In general, females faced more barriers to physical activity than males in all countries included. There were significant differences between males and females within each country and among countries for most barriers. CONCLUSION Intervention programmes to combat obesity and other chronic noncommunicable diseases in the Arab world should include solutions to overcome the barriers to weight maintenance, particularly the sociocultural barriers to practising physical activity.

DOI: 10.1155/2013/232164

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@inproceedings{Musaiger2013PerceivedBT, title={Perceived Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Adolescents in Seven Arab Countries: A Cross-Cultural Study}, author={Abdulrahman Obaid Musaiger and Mariam A Al-Mannai and Reema Fayez Tayyem and Osama Al-Lalla and Essa Y. A. Ali and Faiza Kalam and Mofida M. Benhamed and Sabri Saghir and Ismail Halahleh and Zahra Djoudi and Manel Chirane}, booktitle={TheScientificWorldJournal}, year={2013} }