Self–reported constraints to physical activity participation among university students
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Engagement in physical activity is recognised as an important factor contributing to positive health benefits. Despite the benefits associated with regular physical activity and its ability to improve health, there is little evidence to suggest that the prevalence of physical inactivity among university students is increasing. The objective of this study was to investigate students' participation in and constraints to participation in physical activity. The secondary objective of the study was to ascertain the extent to which university students meet minimum recommended physical activity level. A structured questionnaire relating to participation levels and physical activity constraints was administered to 251 university students. A 22-item scale was developed using factor analysis along six dimensions, namely, personal constraints, academic obligations, safety, fatigue and lack of interest, facilities and lack of company, and knowledge and skills necessary to participate in physical activity. Lack of facilities, proper gear and equipment, time and the pressures of a university schedule were cited as the most important constraints students face in engaging in physical activity. Through the provision of proper facilities at a university level and by inculcating positive attitudes about physical activity participation, students' experiences of physical activity constraints may be curtailed. From a university perspective, probing the sources of non-participation in physical activity may ultimately assist to better organise and promote physical activity among students.