Young male and female perceptions and experiences of physical activity in Apia, Samoa
Tuagalu, T. C. (2009). Young male and female perceptions and experiences of physical activity in Apia, Samoa (Thesis, Master of Sport and Leisure Studies (MSpLS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3952
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3952
The purpose of the study was to investigate young people's perceptions and experiences of physical activity in Apia, Samoa. Physical inactivity is one of the main risk factors contributing to the prevalence of obesity in Samoa. Obesity and its health-related diseases are now the major causes of death in Samoa. Focus group interviews and a survey were adopted for this study and the findings were based on the data collected from young people between 16 and 24 years of age. The findings indicated that a majority of young people have a positive attitude towards physical activity and recognize the link between physical activity and health. A high percentage of young people indicated that physical activity is important to improve health including getting fit and losing weight. However, there appears to be a significant portion of the respondents in the survey who think they are physically active while the reality is that they do not achieve the recommended national physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day over 5 or more days a week. A key aspect that emerged in the study was the importance of daily living tasks in young people's physical activity. Although not addressed in the survey, because it was based on a Western understanding of physical activity and daily life, the focus groups revealed that young people are regularly physically active through duties at home such as feeding the pigs, cooking meals on an earth oven and plantation work. This finding suggests the importance of conducting research focused on a Pacific perspective and taking into account the specific national contexts in which young people live. The study identified constraints on the ability of young people to be physically active. A majority of the respondents cited cultural, environmental and discomfort factors related to physical activity as the main barriers. For instance, the respondents indicated that family duties, lack of footpaths, troublesome dogs and boredom were barriers to physical activity. The evidence suggests that many young Samoans want to be more active and lose weight but they need help. The findings show that young people could be more active if their sources of encouragement such as friends, school, church and village are involved in physical activity promotion campaigns. A coordinated response engaging all health sector partners to establish and support youth physical activity and health initiatives is recommended. More importantly, the Government of Samoa could play a key leadership role in coordinating the sector to ensure that everyone accepts the responsibility of preventing and controlling the prevalence of obesity and lifestyle diseases by encouraging more people to be active.
The University of Waikato
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