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Open Access Short Report

Prevalence of physical inactivity and barriers to physical activity among obese attendants at a community health-care center in Karachi, Pakistan

Nafisa Samir1, Sadia Mahmud2* and Ali Khan Khuwaja3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine and Community Medicine, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, P.O. Box. 35, Al-Khoud 123 Muscat, Oman

2 Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, PO Box 3500, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800 Pakistan

3 Department of Family Medicine, The Aga Khan University Hospital, PO Box 3500, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800 Pakistan

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:174  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-174

Published: 6 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Overweight and obesity are significant public health problems worldwide with serious health consequences. With increasing urbanization and modernization there has been an increase in prevalence of obesity that is attributed to reduced levels of physical activity (PA). However, little is known about the prevalence of physical inactivity and factors that prohibit physical activity among Pakistani population. This cross-sectional study is aimed at estimating the prevalence of physical inactivity, and determining associated barriers in obese attendants accompanying patients coming to a Community Health Center in Karachi, Pakistan.

Findings

PA was assessed by using international physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ). Barriers to PA were also assessed in inactive obese attendants. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect data from a total of 350 obese attendants. Among 350 study participants 254 (72.6%) were found to be physically inactive (95% CI: 68.0%, 77.2%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis indicated that age greater than 33 years, BMI greater than 33 kg/m2 and family history of obesity were independently and significantly associated with physical inactivity. Moreover, there was a significant interaction between family structure and gender; females living in extended families were about twice more likely to be inactive, whereas males from extended families were six times more likely to be inactive relative to females from nuclear families. Lack of information, motivation and skills, spouse & family support, accessibility to places for physical activity, cost effective facilities and time were found to be important barriers to PA.

Conclusions

Considering the public health implications of physical inactivity it is essential to promote PA in context of an individual's health and environment. Findings highlight considerable barriers to PA among obese individuals that need to be addressed during counseling sessions with physicians.