Female international students' experience of physical activity at a University in London
ISPAH ePoster Library. Collins A. Oct 16, 2018; 225508; 172
Anna Collins
Anna Collins
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Abstract Background The Chief Medical Officer in England recommends that adults do 150 min of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Female international students are less likely to be active than male international students. Evidence shows a high prevalence of overweight and obesity within the student population. This study explored the barriers to physical activity experienced by female international students. Methods A qualitative research methodology was used. Participants were postgraduate female international students studying at a university in London, and were recruited via purposive and snowballing techniques. Data were gathered from 11 semi-structured interviews. Themes explored included experience taking part in physical activity. Ethics approval was obtained. Results Most of the students were not aware of the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations. Barriers they faced included language, feeling isolated, the high cost of participation, and lacking in confidence to engage in different physical activities in London. Images of beauty depicted in the media, participants’ religious backgrounds, and living in London all interacted in complex ways that made it difficult for them to participate in physical activity. Conclusion To improve the learning experiences of female international students, universities should make physical activity an easier choice by providing options that take account of students' diversity and gendered experiences of a global city like London. This study adds knowledge to a largely under-researched population’s physical activity experiences. A limitation is the recruitment strategy used for sampling, so the findings are unlikely to be generalisable to the wider female international student population.Funding None.
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