Barriers and facilitators of health-enhancing physical activity behavior among health professional students in a nigerian university setting
Background: Health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) is very beneficial to humans. However, physical activity levels are declining in many countries even among health care professional students. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceived facilitators and barriers to the practice of HEPA among clinical students in a Nigerian University setting.
Methods: The study utilized a mixed method design, which consisted of cross-sectional survey of 217 clinical students and explorative qualitative study involving 21 clinical students of a Nigerian University. Exercise Barriers Scale and Facilitators of Physical Activity Questionnaire with Likert scale response options were used to assess the perceived barriers and facilitators of HEPA respectively. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data obtained from the cross-sectional study. Content thematic analysis was used to analyze the explorative qualitative study.
Results: The female participants were 111 (51.85%) and 106 (48.15%) were male participants. The mean (± standard deviation) age of all the participants was 22 ± 2 years. The facilitators of HEPA among the participants include fitness and health benefits; opportunity to interact with others; availability of conducive environment for exercising; availability of time for physical activity and social support. Barriers to HEPA reported by the participants are tiring and fatiguing nature of exercise; lack of convenient schedule at exercise facilities; few available places for exercise, lack of motivation; and study overload.
Conclusion: Barriers and facilitators of HEPA among college clinical students are very remediable factors. University management can encourage students' participation in HEPA by creating enabling environment and time for recreation.