Cultural considerations in physical activity participation: Perspectives from Chinese pre-adolescents (#103)
Possible reasons for the limited effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity (PA) to combat the child obesity epidemic are that their design was seldom informed by the children themselves, and when they were adopted for another culture without considering the cultural characteristics of the target audience. With limited evidence of effective PA interventions for Chinese children to date, the main aim of this study is to qualitatively investigate aspects of PA that Chinese children (aged 6-12) enjoy and dislike through PA level-, age- and sex- specific focus group interviews. Out of all physical, emotional and social benefits identified as sources of PA enjoyment, strikingly, the prospect to grow taller from PA participation was primarily favoured by low active girls irrespective of age. On the contrary, more high active girls derived enjoyment from the sensations during PA. Confidence gained from participation was predominantly through social comparison which also seemed to be a major drive to continued participation. Nonetheless, participation with family and friends and unstructured play (especially for younger children) were also prominent motivators. Surprisingly, weight loss did not stand out as a motivator for PA, but being overweight was indicative of poor health while having a ‘moderate’ figure was considered as healthy particularly by the eldest girls, and weight concern seemed to be more associated with dietary habits than PA. Regarding factors for PA disengagement, fear of injury and negative PA experiences appeared to be more important for girls, and unexpectedly, more high active girls expressed fear towards certain sporting environments/activities and previous negative experiences. Girls were also more concerned about possible injuries and hygiene during participation, and the eldest low active group appeared to be mindful about their lack of competence and physical tiredness. Together with comparison with existing western data, implications of our findings will be discussed.
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