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Prevalence of barriers for physical activity in Portuguese adolescents
  1. Hilário Gomes,
  2. Diogo Pinto,
  3. Sebastião Sequeira,
  4. Luís Santos,
  5. Adilson Marques,
  6. Francisco Carreiro da Costa
  1. Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal


The aim of this study was to analyse the prevalence of barriers to physical activity (PA) among adolescents according to gender and practice of PA. A total of 2580 adolescents (1310 boys, 1270 girls) aged ranged between 10 and 18 years old (mean 13±2 y) participated in this study. The data was collected through a questionnaire on PA's participation and barriers to PA. Qui-square tests were performed to analyse the differences between the gender and the practice of PA on perceived barriers. Only 29% of boys and 12% of girls were considered active. The most common barriers to the engagement in PA were the same for boys and girls. Nevertheless there were significant differences between the two genders. The number one barrier was – lack of time (boys 16%, girls 26%, p<0.001), the second was interest in doing another thing (boys 9%, girls 13%, p=0.003), and the third was the perception of not having enough skills (boys 5%, girls 10%, p<0.001). Girls reported higher importance to shame (p=0.004) and to the costs (p=0.001) associated with PA. For the group of active students the main barrier was lack of time (9%) while the less active students cited more often the interest of doing something else (12%) and not having enough skills (9%). Additional relevant differences were observed between active and inactive students on the importance of the barrier, lack of time (p<0.001), not being in shape (p=0.001), the perception of not having enough skills (p<0.001), costs (p=0.002) and interest in doing another thing (p<0.001). All of these reasons were more prevalent for inactive students except physically active students cited more often the lack of time (89% vs 3%, p<0.001). Lack of time is the most cited barrier for boys and girls. In general, perceived barriers for the practice of PA were more prevalent for girls than for boys. The inactive students reported more motives than the active ones.

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