Culture X: addressing barriers to physical activity in Samoa

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Heard, Emma Marie
Auvaa, Leveti
Conway, Brooke A
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There is an urgent need to address the epidemic rates of non-communicable diseases globally, and the Pacific Island region is of particular concern. Increasing physical activity participation plays an important role in reducing some of the key risk factors for non-communicable diseases including obesity and being overweight. In order to address low levels of physical activity, it is essential to understand the key barriers and facilitating factors experienced by specific population groups. The purpose of this study is to investigate key facilitating factors for participation in a dance aerobic initiative, Culture X, developed in the Pacific Island country, Samoa. The study further aims to understand ways in which the programme assists participants in addressing barriers to physical activity. Face-to-face interviews running from 10 to 20 min were conducted with 28 Culture X participants in order to gain a deep understanding of participants’ personal perspectives with regard to barriers and facilitating factors to physical activity. Findings suggest the inclusion of key cultural components (including, traditional dance moves and music, prayer, community orientation and family inclusiveness) were integral for supporting ongoing participation in Culture X. These components further assisted participants in addressing important personal and social barriers to physical activity (including lack of motivation and enjoyment, lack of confidence, time management, family and social commitments and lack of support). This study highlights creative ways that health promotion in the Pacific Island region can encourage physical activity and informs health promotion literature regarding the importance of placing local culture at the heart of behaviour change initiatives.

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Health Promotion International
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Heard, EM; Auvaa, L; Conway, BA, Culture X: addressing barriers to physical activity in Samoa, Health Promotion International, 2017, 32 (4), pp. 734-742