Exploring the barriers and facilitators for making physical activity lifestyle choices among the UK adult BAME populations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Research has demonstrated that regular physical activity helps to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational lung disease, and several cancers. Despite these benefits associated with regular physical activity (PA), several UK studies conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic indicated adult BAME groups experience a relatively higher burden compared to non-BAME groups, and the lockdown exacerbated physical inactivity in this group. It is estimated that physical inactivity costs the National Health Service (NHS) £7.4 billion per year and is associated with one out of every six deaths that occur in the country. If current physical inactivity trends continue, there will be a 35% decrease in PA by the year 2030, thus it became necessary to explore the barriers and facilitators for making PA lifestyle choices among the UK adult BAME populations particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study comprised of three Phases: a Systematic Review (SR) of SRs, a SR of qualitative studies, and a primary qualitative study. The SR of SRs (Phase 1) was conducted to ascertain the barriers and facilitators of physical activity among adult BAME Populations in the UK. In this sub-study, seven databases (AMED, n = 0; CINAHL, n = 4; SCOPUS, n = 1; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, n = 1; Embase, n = 12; Medline, n = 21; Web of Science, n = 11) were searched, a total of 50 records were screened and 1 was eligible for inclusion. In conducting the SR of qualitative studies (Phase 2), the same databases were searched and a total of 53 records retrieved were screened and none met the inclusion criteria. The findings of the SR of SRs and SR of qualitative studies revealed a dearth of PA-related research conducted amongst adult BAME populations particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and established the need for increased PA-related primary research among BAME adults in the UK during the pandemic. The third Phase of this study was the primary qualitative study which was conducted using one-to-one semi-structured interviews. In this sub-study, twelve participants (Teesside-based adult BAME) were interviewed between April and August 2022 via Microsoft Teams. The in-depth semi-structured interviews captured participants’ experiences in making healthy PA lifestyle choices during the COVID-19 pandemic in six themes namely. These are: 1) Influence of culture on PA lifestyle, 2) Knowledge and awareness on PA lifestyle, 3) Capability to engage in PA lifestyle, 4) Change in perceptions of PA due to COVID-19 lockdown, 5) Facilitators /barriers of PA and 6) Self-reflective determination theory. These themes were mapped onto the capability, opportunity, and motivation model of behaviour change (COM-B), in order to identify facilitators and barriers towards making healthier PA choices in this group. These primary qualitative findings enabled the modification of the COM-B and self-reflective determination models to reflect the experiences of adult BAME individuals with respect to PA participation. This study contributes to the understanding of how lifestyle experiences can be used in designing culturally relevant interventions that seek to improve PA lifestyle choices for BAME populations in the UK. Based on the research findings from the three Phases of this study, there is a need to conduct more primary and secondary research to modify or develop new behavioural change models that are specific to adult BAME individuals in order to combat sedentary lifestyles and sedentary lifestyle diseases.
Date of Award22 Mar 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorLawrence Nnyanzi (Supervisor), Barry Tolchard (Supervisor) & Edward Kunonga (Supervisor)

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