4 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Despite reforming health policies to create more enabling environments, insufficient physical activity in Sri Lanka remains a major public health issue. Socio-culture specific determinants underlying the physical activity of adults living in such environments need to be identified. The aim of this study was to explore the barriers and facilitators for physical activity, as perceived by adult urban dwellers in activity-friendly environments in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.
Methods: A qualitative study using in-depth interviews was conducted among adults aged 20–60 years living in an urban area which has been recently re-designed for recreational and rejuvenating purposes in Sri Lanka. Recruitment targeted varying socio-economic status and risk of non-communicable diseases; and was continued until the data saturation point was reached. Interviews were conducted in homes, primary healthcare units and fitness centres, and were transcribed verbatim and analysed using framework analysis.
Results: A total of 31 eligible and consenting adults were interviewed. Of the reported barriers to physical activity, lack of time was very common. Other frequently reported barriers included unpleasant experiences following exercise and misconceptions about exercise, whereas physical environmental factors, weather and road safety were reported less frequently. All participants reported at least one facilitator for engaging in exercise. Expectations of preventing diseases, improving health, physical fitness, psycho-social wellbeing, optimising body functions and increasing lifespan were frequently cited as reasons to be active, while social factors such as positive attitudes of family members and the influence of peers were found to be motivating.
Conclusions: The study showed that while participants valued the health benefits of physical activity and refurbished activity-friendly urban environments, these were not sufficient to support them to overcome key perceived barriers to being physically active.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0268817
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Carukshi Arambepola received funding from the University of Bath, UK. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors thank the study participants and the Medical Officer of Health in Pitakotte area and other related authorities for their support during data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Perera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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