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Table 2 Summary of qualitative studies focusing on South Asian women and physical activity

From: Physical activity among South Asian women: a systematic, mixed-methods review

Author, publication date& quality rating Country aim Methods sample Sample Main themes
Darr et al., 2008 -Strong+ UK To examine and compare illness beliefs of South Asian and European patients with CHD about lifestyle changes In-depth interviews N(Pakistani/Muslim men) = 10 Perceptions: Vigorous PA* seen as unnecessary, just keep mobile to achieve adequate PA levels
N(Pakistani/Muslim women) = 10 Barriers: Lack of time and uncomfortable walking alone
N(Indian/Sikh men) = 7
N(Indian/Sikh women) = 5
N(Indian/Hindu men) = 9
N(Indian/Hindu men) = 9
N(Indian/Hindu women) = 4
N(European men) = 10
N(European women) = 10
Age range: 40-83
Galadas et al., 2012 - Strong Canada To describe Punkabi Sikh patients’ perceived barriers to engaging in physical exercise following myocardial infarction (MI) Semi-structured interviews N(Punjab men) = 10 Perceptions: Difficulty determining safe PA levels
N(Punjab women) = 5 Informal exercise versus structured PA in a gym would be better
Age range: 48-80 Social networks disrupted after migrating to Canada and therefore difficult to make friends with whom to do PA with
Barriers: Fatigue and weakness after MI
Grace et al., 2008 -Strong UK To understand lay beliefs and attitudes, religious teachings, and professional perceptions in relation to diabetes prevention in the Bangladeshi community Focus groups for lay SA religious leaders N(lay SA men) = 37 Perceptions: ‘Namaz’ is term used to refer to exercise
N(lay SA women) = 43 PA is seen as way to care for the body and for controlling weight
N(Religious leader men) = 14 Walking best form of activity to maintain modesty
N(lay religious leader women) = 15 PA central to Muslim way of life
Mean age: 35 +/-2 standard deviations
Horne et al., 2009 -Weak/moderate UK To identify salient beliefs that influence uptake and adherence to exercise for fall prevention among community dwelling Caucasian and SA 60-70 years old Ethnographic participant observation, focus groups, and semi structured interviews FG: N(White men) = 14 Perceptions: PA not considered necessary if a person is healthy
N(White women) = 44 Barriers: Limited knowledge of PA and its benefits
N(SA men) = 16 Unaware of benefits of PA such as balance and improved mobility
N(SA women) = 13 Fear of injury if participate in PA Lack of confidence to do PA
N(White men) = 9
N(White women) = 14
N(SA men) = 7
N(SA women) = 10
Mean age range: 65.2-66.1
Kalra et al., 2004 -Strong/moderate US To gather information on the perceptions of cardiovascular risk within the Asian Indian community and to identify opportunities to design health promotion and intervention programs Focus groups N = 57 Asian Indian men and women Perceptions: Urban dwellers more likely to want to do PA in a gym
FG size and sex unspecified Rural dwellers knew to walk and caretaking was PA
Ages unspecified
Lawton et al., 2006 -Strong UK To explore perceptions and experiences of undertaking physical activity as part of diabetes care In-depth interviews N(SA) = 32 Perceptions: Should do PA
N(Pakistani men) = 11 Encouraged by health professional to walk
N(Pakistani women) = 11 Barriers: Lack of time, fear to go out alone, no culturally sensitive facilities, domestic duties take priority over PA
N(SA Indian men) = 4
N(SA Indian women) = 5
Age range:40s-70s
Mohan et al., 2008 - Moderate Australia To report lifestyle factors of Asian Indians in Australia in relation to CHD and explore factors that could inform health education and cardiac rehabilitation programs in achieving lifestyle behavior changes Semi-structured interviews N = 8 Barriers: Family is a higher priority than PA; loneliness and lack of support after migration
N(SA Indian men) = 5
N(SA Indian women) = 3
6 born in India, 2 born in Fiji
Age range: 41-80
Pollard & Guell, 2011 -Moderate UK To explore the facility and confidence with which women were able to recall information on PA, as required by questionnaires Semi-structured interviews, 24-hour PA recall and accelerometry N = 22 (British Pakistani women only) Recall of PA: Women unlikely to accurately quantify time or intensities of daily PA
Age range: 24-61 Commonly used questionnaires unlikely to accurately capture PA levels
Sriskantharajah & Kai,2006 -Strong UK To explore influences on, and attitudes towards, physical activity among SA women with CHD and diabetes to inform secondary prevention strategies Semi-structured interviews N = 15 (women only) Barriers: Uncertainty of what activities to do
N(SA Indian) = 5 Selfish to take PA
N(Pakistani) = 4 Language difficulties
N(Bangladeshi) = 1 Modesty an issue
N(East African Asian) = 2
N(Sri Lankan) = 3
Age range:26- + 70
Walseth 2008 -Moderate Norway To explore social network dimension of social capital, and whether participation in sport leads to accumulation of social capital for young women with an immigrant background In-depth interviews N = 15 (women only from Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Iran, Syria, Gambia, and Kosovo) Perceptions: Sport clubs strengthened established friendships
Age range: 16-25 Focus on similarities among each other rather than differences
  1. +Quality rating from checklist from Critical Skills Appraisal Programme(8) in which the assessor ranks a series of questions from weak to strong based on their assessment of rigor, credibility and relevance of the study to answering each question. *Physical activity; **South Asian; *** Focus group.