Background: Regular physical activity (PA) has positive effects on physical, psychological and social health in the individual and the community. Reduced PA is a major global problem that is increasing in prevalence every day. The present study aimed to determine the status of PA among adolescent girls and their perceptions of obesity prevention.
Materials and Methods: The present descriptive-analytical study was conducted on 308 randomly-selected female high-school students in in Shahr-e Kord, Iran. Data were collected using a researcher-made questionnaire based on the Health Belief Model and the Standard Physical Activity Questionnaire and were then analyzed in SPSS-16 using statistical tests including the Chi-square test and Pearson’s and Spearman’s Correlation Coefficients.
Results: According to the results, 217 (70.1%) of the adolescents had light PA, 84 (27.3%) had moderate and only 8 (2.6%) had severe physical activity. The adolescents obtained mean scores of 39.61±19.46 in knowledge, 31.88±15.04 in perceived susceptibility, 34.76±19.82 in perceived severity, 43.11±2.6 in perceived benefits of PA and 39.94±1.93 in perceived barriers. The mean score of perceived susceptibility, perceived severity and perceived benefits were higher in those with moderate physical activity compared to those with light physical activity (P<0.001).
Given the status of PA in the participating adolescents and their low knowledge and poor perceptions of obesity and its relationship with regular physical activity, it is necessary to develop and implement health education and promotion interventions that aim to raise knowledge, generate interest in physical activity and its regular practice and, more importantly, make this behavior persistent.