NYMC Faculty Publications

Physical Activity and Its Barriers and Facilitators Among University Students in Qatar: A Cross-Sectional Study

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases worldwide. This study investigated physical activity (PA) level among university students in Qatar and assessed other lifestyle and demographic factors associated with PA. A cross-sectional study was conducted between February 2017 and February 2018. A self-administered questionnaire, comprising questions from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and other validated questionnaires, was used to assess PA and other lifestyle behaviors, including sedentary behavior, stress, sleep, dietary habits, and smoking habits. The results were reported according to the STROBE guidelines. A total of 370 students (response rate = 95.6%) were recruited from eight universities via quota sampling. The prevalence of physically active students—as per the World Health Organization’s recommendation for PA of 150−300 min/week—was 64.9% (75.2% in males and 58.3% in females). Females and students >20 years old were half as likely to be active compared with males and younger students. More males enjoyed getting regular exercise (83.6% vs. 67.7%, p-value = 0.002). Time spent sitting was similar during weekdays and weekends (mean time ± SD = 480.8 ± 277.7 min/week vs. 492.1 ± 265.0 min/week). Sports facilities and green spaces appear to help increase PA among university students in Qatar. Public health interventions should focus on improving PA-related perception and knowledge among students to further increase PA participation.