Influence of Socioeconomic Status and Perceived Barriers on Physical Activity Among Taiwanese Middle-Aged and Older Women

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Abstract

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is associated with cardiovascular health in general populations, particularly in women. Middle-aged and older women are at high risk of less engagement in PA for unknown and complicated reasons.

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to investigate whether PA was positively associated with socioeconomic status and psychosocial correlates of PA (self-efficacy and perceived benefits) but inversely correlated with perceived barriers in women (age >40 years).

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey of 326 community-dwelling women was conducted. Data on socioeconomic status, PA, and its psychosocial correlates (ie, perceived benefits/barriers and self-efficacy) were collected using self-report questionnaires. Analyses were performed by multiple linear regressions.

Results:

Monthly income (β = .35, P = .015), employment status (β = .32, P < .001), and perceived barriers to PA (β = −.19, P = .008) were significantly associated with PA. More highly educated women participated in more (β = .13, P = .033) vigorous PA, women with fewer perceived barriers participated in more (β = −.14, P = .047) moderate-intensity PA, and employed women participated in more (β = .35, P < .001) walking. Significantly higher scores of perceived barriers, including “no trainer,” “feeling exhausted,” “lack of motivation,” and “lack of guidance,” were identified in women with low PA compared with those with moderate PA.

Conclusion:

Socioeconomic status and perceived barriers are associated with PA and its intensity level. Some specific barriers provide insights into the key factors that contribute to low PA in middle-aged and older women. These findings can be considered in future interventions to design PA promotion programs for this population to protect against cardiovascular diseases.

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