Physical Activity Among Female Adolescents in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A Health Promotion Model-Based Path Analysis

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Abstract

Background

In Saudi Arabia, about 14.8% of female children and adolescents of less than 20 years old are obese, compared with only 9.4% of male children and adolescents. One major factor linked to the high prevalence of obesity and related chronic illnesses involves inadequate physical activity (PA). Only 25% of female adolescents in Saudi Arabia meet the recommendation calling for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA per day.

Objective

The aim of this research was to examine relationships among self-reported PA and cognitive and affective variables, including perceived barriers to PA, PA self-efficacy, enjoyment of PA, social support for PA, and commitment to PA.

Methods

Female Saudi adolescents 13–18 years of age were recruited from 10 public intermediate and high schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Female adolescents who met the inclusion criteria completed surveys and participated in height and weight measurements at schools. A structural equation model based on the health promotion model was estimated, with commitment to PA hypothesized to mediate relationships between health promotion model (HPM) predictors and self-reported PA.

Results

A total of 405 female adolescents with a mean age of 15.4 years took part in the study, of whom 25.3% were overweight or obese. Mean PA level measured via the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents was 2.1 (SD = 0.66), which is low. Commitment to PA partially mediated the relationships of PA self-efficacy, enjoyment of PA, and social support for PA; 25.4% of the variance in PA was explained. The model did not support the indirect relationship of perceived barriers through commitment or the direct relationship between enjoyment and PA.

Discussion

This study indicates that Saudi female adolescents are in need of interventions to increase their PA. The findings suggest that addressing perceived barriers to PA and targeting PA self-efficacy, enjoyment of PA, and social support for PA to enhance commitment to PA may be a fruitful approach in nursing interventions to increase PA among Saudi female adolescents.

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