Open Access Research article

Perceived physical activity barriers related to body weight status and sociodemographic factors among Malaysian men in Klang Valley

Suraya Ibrahim1, Norimah A Karim14*, Ng Lai Oon2 and Wan Zurinah Wan Ngah3

Author Affiliations

1 Nutrition Programme, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Health Psychology Programme, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

4 School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:275  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-275

Published: 26 March 2013



Physical inactivity has been acknowledged as a public health issue and has received increasing attention in recent years. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the barriers to physical activity among Malaysian men. These barriers were analyzed with regards to sociodemographic factors, physical activity level, BMI and waist circumference.


Subjects in this study included 308 Malay men and 422 Chinese men aged 20 years and older. Subjects completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and a questionnaire on barriers to physical activity, categorized into personal and psychological, physical and social environment barriers. Weight, height and waist circumference were also measured and BMI was calculated.


Descriptive analyses showed that 79.3% of subjects were married, 52.1% had secondary educational level, 68.8% were still working, and 39.7% had household income between RM1500 to RM3500. The perception that other recreational activities with family and friends were more fun was the most frequently reported barrier, followed by weather, lack of discipline, lack of free time, lack of money, and lack of friends. Marriage status, educational level, household income, BMI, and physical activity status were shown to be associated with perceived barriers.


To increase participation in physical activity, policy makers should consider significant personal, social and environmental barriers when developing appropriate intervention programmes. Health-promoting strategies that increase awareness, knowledge, skills and motivation related to physical activity are required.

Physical activity; Barriers; Malaysian; Men; BMI; Waist circumference