A cross-sectional study of barriers to physical activity among overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes in Iran

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The objective of this study was to identify common barriers to physical activity practice among overweight/obese patients with type 2 diabetes in Iran and their associations with physical activity level. In this cross-sectional study, 146 overweight/obese volunteers with type 2 diabetes were recruited from diabetes clinics in Tabriz, Iran, between July 2012 and March 2013. A Persian version of the long-format International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess physical activity level. A 12-item structured questionnaire was designed to assess physical activity barriers. The validity and reliability of the latter scale were assessed by related measures. An exploratory factor analysis with the principal component analysis extraction method and varimax rotation was performed to extract the underlying factors. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between barriers and physical activity level. About 73% of patients had moderate physical activity. Factor analysis yielded four factors as barriers to physical activity including: (i) negative attitude towards physical activity, (ii) discouragement, (iii) physical problems and (iv) cost/environmental factors. These factors explained about 51% of the total variance. There was a negative relationship between the factor ‘physical problems’ and physical activity level (P = 0.024). Overall, there were some barriers to physical activity. Health counsellors should address these barriers to increase the patients' adherence to physical activity recommendations. Physical conditions of the patients must be taken into account.

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