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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Young adult males' motivators and perceived barrier towards eating healthily and being active: A qualitative study

Author
item Ashton, Lee - University Of Newcastle
item Hutchesson, Melinda - University Of Newcastle
item Rollo, Megan - University Of Newcastle
item Morgan, Philip - University Of Newcastle
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Collins, Clare - University Of Newcastle

Submitted to: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/4/2015
Publication Date: 7/15/2015
Citation: Ashton, L.M., Hutchesson, M.J., Rollo, M.E., Morgan, P.J., Thompson, D.J., Collins, C.E. 2015. Young adult males' motivators and perceived barrier towards eating healthily and being active: A qualitative study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 12:93.

Interpretive Summary: Little is known about young men's perspectives regarding obesity prevention. This gap in knowledge needs to be addressed so that effective programs can be developed for them. Motivators and barriers for healthy eating and physical activity were identified. Motivators for healthy eating included physical health, sport or performance, physical appearance, and social influences, while motivators for physical activity were physical appearance, social inclusion, physical and mental health, and improvements for sports performance. Intrinsic, logistic, and social factors were identified as barriers to healthy eating, while busy lifestyles and logistic, cognitive-emotional, and social factors were barriers to physical activity. An impact statement describing the significance of the accomplishment; why the results are important to the producer, consumer, industry, or other user. Provide statements showing dollars savings if appropriate. This research provided novel information regarding perceived motivators and barriers for healthy eating and physical activity from the perspective of young men. It demonstrates the importance of including young men in program development.

Technical Abstract: There is a lack of understanding of young men's perspectives in obesity-related research. This study aims to: (1) identify young men's perceived motivators and barriers in adopting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, and (2) explore any differences in responses by weight status categories. Ten focus groups (32-63 minutes; 3-9 participants per group) were conducted with 61 young men (BMI: 25.3 +/- 5.1 kg/m*2, aged: 18-25 years) from the Hunter region, New South Wales, Australia. There were 35 (57.4 %) healthy weight men and 26 (42.6 %) overweight/obese men. Three groups were with healthy weight participants, three with overweight/obese participants and four with mixed-BMI participants. Sessions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data analysis was conducted by an independent researcher using NVIVO10. Motivators for healthy eating grouped into four themes: physical health (e.g. to live longer), sport or performance (e.g. to support their sporting goals), physical appearance (e.g. sexual attractiveness) and social influences (e.g. societal expectations to eat healthy), while key motivators for physical activity were: physical appearance (e.g. sexual attractiveness), social inclusion (e.g. making friends), physical and mental health (e.g. relieve stress) and improvements for sport or performance (e.g. improve fitness). Themes for key barriers to eating healthy were: intrinsic (e.g. perceived effort to adopt healthy eating), logistic (e.g. cost), and social factors (e.g. peer influence), while busy lifestyles (e.g. lack of time), logistic (e.g. cost), cognitive-emotional (e.g. feelings of inferiority) and social factors (e.g. family upbringing) were key barriers for physical activity. Responses varied little by BMI status. This research emphasizes the importance of consulting young men when developing healthy lifestyle programs that aim to promote healthy eating and physical activity in young men. Future research is needed to identify the most effective ways to address their motivators and barriers in intervention research.