Factors affecting physical activity in Ecuadorian adolescents: a focus group study

Kathleen Van Royen, Roosmarijn Verstraeten, Susana Andrade, Angélica Ochoa-Avilés, Silvana Donoso, Lea Maes, Patrick Kolsteren

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity levels are increasingly prevalent among Ecuadorian adolescents. School-based interventions can be potentially effective in promoting physical activity but must be informed by cultural-specific factors.

    METHODS: Twelve focus groups were carried out with adolescents (n = 80) in rural and urban Ecuador to identify factors influencing physical activity. In addition, 4 focus group discussions with parents (n = 32) and 4 with school staff (n = 32) were conducted. Individual and environmental factors were questioned using the 'Attitude, Social influences and Self-efficacy' model and the socioecological model as theoretical frameworks.

    RESULTS: Factors influencing physical activity varied between groups. In the rural area farming and norms for girls impeded leisure-time physical activity, whereas urban groups emphasized traffic and crime concerns. Groups from a low socioeconomic status more frequently mentioned a fear of injuries and financial constraints. Several factors were common for all groups including preferences for sedentary activities, poor knowledge, time constraints and laziness, as well as a lack of opportunities at home and school, unsupportive parental rules and lack of role models.

    CONCLUSION: A conceptual framework including the identified factors emerged to inform the design of a cultural-sensitive school-based intervention to improve physical activity among Ecuadorian adolescents. Future interventions should be tailored to each setting.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Physical Activity & Health
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)340-348
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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