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“When You Move You Have Fun”: Perceived Barriers, and Facilitators of Physical Activity From a Child's Perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-07, 00:00 authored by S Nally, N D Ridgers, A M Gallagher, M H Murphy, Jo SalmonJo Salmon, A Carlin
In Northern Ireland (NI), many children do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity (PA). To reduce the prevalence of physical inactivity and associated health conditions, it is important to understand the influences on children's PA, which in turn has the potential to inform future intervention design. The purpose of this formative study was to examine the current views, barriers, facilitators, experiences, and perceptions of children in relation to PA in the classroom, school, and home environments, and to assess the acceptability of components for a school-based intervention. Write and draw tasks and semi-structured focus groups (n = 10) were conducted with 50 children aged 7–9 years (22 boys, 28 girls) from six primary schools. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically. Pen profiles were constructed from the transcripts in a deductive manner and represent key emergent themes. Results indicated that children's perception and knowledge of PA was mainly structured and sport-based, while some referred to fun, play and health. Fun, social support and outdoor activity were identified as key facilitators. Barriers included parental restrictions, lack of time and space in the different environments. The acceptability of intervention components was examined, children recognized the potential benefits of additional movement in the classroom, but opinions differed on the sit-to-stand desks. Findings contribute to a more detailed understanding of children's perceptions of context specific PA, the barriers they face, in addition to factors that support them to lead a physically active lifestyle, which may inform future PA promotion strategies.



Frontiers in Sports and Active Living



Article number

ARTN 789259


1 - 15




Lausanne, Switzerland







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal