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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Volume 26, Issue 3


Factors associated with physical inactivity among female and male rural adolescents in Borneo – a cross-sectional study

Whye Lian Cheah
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia
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/ Hazmi Helmy
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ching Thon Chang
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia
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Published Online: 2014-01-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2013-0319


Rural communities have shown marked increase in metabolic syndrome among young people, with physical inactivity as one of the main contributing factors. This study aimed to determine factors associated with physical inactivity among male and female rural adolescents in a sample of schools in Malaysia. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 145 students aged 13–15 years. Data on socio-demographic, health-related, and psychosocial factors (perceived barriers, self-efficacy, social influences) were collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Anthropometric measurement was taken to generate body mass index (BMI)-for-age, while physical activity (PA) level was assessed using pedometers. The mean steps per day was 6251.37 (SD=3085.31) with males reported as being more active. About 27% of the respondents were either overweight or obese, with more females in this group. There was no significant difference in steps among males and females (p=0.212), and nutritional status (BMI-for-age) (p=0.439). Females consistently scored higher in most items under perceived barriers, but had significantly lower scores in self-efficacy’s items. Males were more influenced by peers in terms of PA (p<0.001) and were more satisfied with their body parts (p=0.047). A significantly higher body size discrepancy score was found among females (p=0.034, CI –0.639, –0.026). PA level was low and almost one-third of the respondents were overweight and obese. Female students faced more barriers and had lower self-efficacy with regards PA. Based on the findings, it is recommended that interventions focus on reducing barriers while increasing support for PA. This is particularly important in improving the health status of the youth, especially among the females.

Keywords: perceived barriers; physical activity; self-efficacy


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About the article

Corresponding author: Dr. Whye Lian Cheah, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Lot 77, Section 22 KTLD, Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, 93150 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Phone: +6082 226222, E-mail:

Received: 2013-08-23

Accepted: 2013-11-24

Published Online: 2014-01-22

Published in Print: 2014-08-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 26, Issue 3, Pages 447–453, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2013-0319.

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