Motivators of and barriers to engaging in physical activity: Perspectives of low-income culturally diverse adolescents and adults

Marie A. Bragg, Carolyn M. Tucker, Lily B. Kaye, Frederic Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Obesity rates are rising in the United States, especially among low-income and racial/ethnic minority individuals. Exploring motivators and barriers relative to engaging in physical activity is imperative. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify motivators and barriers relative to engagement in physical activity as reported by culturally diverse low-income adolescents and adults. Methods: A total of 91 adolescent (11 to 15 years of age) and adult (18 years of age or older) participants who self-identified as African American, Hispanic, or non-Hispanic White engaged in age group-, race/ethnicity-, and gender-concordant focus groups. Results: Qualitative data analysis indicated that the motivators and barriers most commonly identified among the adolescent and adult focus groups were: social influence; time and priorities; physical environment; fun and enjoyment; inherently physical activities; weight concerns; fatigue, physical discomfort and current fitness level; and immediate positive feelings. Discussion: Findings were generally similar across age group, gender and race/ethnicity. Age group-specific, gender-specific and race/ethnicity-specific motivators and barriers were related to how commonly the motivators and barriers were identified among each group. Translation to Health Education Practice: Implications for increasing physical activity among low-income culturally diverse adolescents and adults are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this