Factors Influencing Saudi Youth Physical Activity Participation: A Qualitative Study Based on the Social Ecological Model

Anwar Al-Nuaim, Ayazullah Safi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (SciVal)


    Background: The growing improvement in urbanisation, modes of transportation and the expansion of sedentary behaviour, both at work and home, have resulted in declining rates of physical activity (PA) worldwide. Nearly one-third of the global population aged 15 and over are insufficiently active. The negative effect of physical inactivity has been evidenced and ranked fourth as the lethal cause of death globally. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore the factors influencing PA participation among youths from different geographical locations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Methods: Sixteen focus groups (males = 8 and females = 8) were conducted with a total of 120 secondary school students (male = 63 and female = 57) aged between 15 and 19 years. The focus groups were analysed to identify key themes through the process of thematic analysis. Results: Results from the focus groups indicated that a lack of time, safety, parental support, policies, access to sport and PA facilities, and transportation, as well as climate were reported as barriers to PA participation. Discussion and conclusion: The current research contributes to the scarce literature focused on the multidimensional effects on Saudi youth PA behaviour from different geographical locations. This qualitative approach has provided the participants a voice, and the overall study offers valuable evidence as well as invaluable information to policymakers, public health departments, and local authorities for PA intervention based on the environment and the community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number5785
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 11 May 2023


    • youth
    • factors
    • influencing
    • physical activity
    • health
    • qualitative research
    • social ecological model


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