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Table 1 Study characteristics

From: A systematic review of qualitative studies exploring the factors influencing the physical activity levels of Arab migrants

Author and country Aims (verbatim) Exclusively Arab migrant population Characteristics of sample Data collection method Analysis
Caperchione et al. (2011) [30]
To examine socio-cultural influences of physical activity behaviours among culturally and linguistically diverse women in Australia by identifying enablers and barriers to physical activity. No Total sample: 110 women from Bosnian, Arabic speaking, Filipino, and Sudanese backgrounds.
Aged 46.2 ± 11.6 years.
Arab subsample: 29 Arabic-speaking women of Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian, and Lebanese ethnicity (First generation).
Aged 39.1 ± 10.4 years.
Focus groups Thematic induction
El Masri et al. (2020) [29]
To explore the perceptions, barriers, and enablers to physical activity and minimising sedentary behaviour among Arab-Australians aged 35–64 years. Yes 28 Arab-Australian adults (20 women, 8 men). Majority (78.6%) Lebanese, first and later generation.
Aged 45.0 ± 7.8 years.
Focus groups Inductive thematic analysis
Jörgensdotter Wegnelius et al. (2018) [32]
The aim of the study was to examine how immigrant women with prolonged illness experience the conditions for physical activity from an intersectional perspective. No 22 immigrant women with prolonged illness.
Aged 35–60 years.
Arab subsample: 11 Arab immigrant women from Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Iraq.
Focus groups Systematic text condensation, intersectionality used as analytical framework
Kahan (2011) [33]
United States
To explore their beliefs and attitudes toward socioecological factors that facilitated and hindered their individual physical activity and body composition. Yes Arab-American (Arab-league nations) college students (12 women, 9 men).
Aged 22.3 ± 3.0 years.
Focus groups Thematic content and framework analysis
Nicolaou et al. (2012) [34]
To gain insight into the influences on Moroccan migrant women’s weight and weight-related behaviour by enriching their perspectives with those of their non-migrant compatriots living in Morocco. No Total sample: 53 women who were Dutch-Moroccan or Moroccan living in Morocco.
Aged 16–59 years.
Arab subsample: 22 Dutch-Moroccan women, first and later generation.
Aged 20–59 years.
Focus groups Thematic analysis
Olaya-Contreras et al. (2019) [35]
To explore perceptions, experiences and barriers concerning lifestyle modifications in Iraqi immigrants to Sweden at risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Yes 33 Iraqi immigrants (19 women, 14 men).
Women aged 50.7 years, Men aged 42.6 years (mean).
Most participants did not complete secondary school (86%).
Focus groups Inductive thematic analysis
Razee et al. (2010) [36]
To explore the beliefs, attitudes, social support, barriers and environmental influences related to diabetes risk behaviours among three groups of women of different cultural backgrounds with a history of gestational diabetes. No Total sample: 57 women with a history of gestational diabetes and who spoke Arabic, Cantonese/Mandarin, or English at home.
Arab subsample: 20 Arab women of Middle Eastern backgrounds (mostly Lebanese and Iraqi) with a history of gestational diabetes.
Aged 36.0 ± 5.0 years.
Interviews Thematic analysis
Romeike et al. (2016) [37]
To gain insight into the specific beliefs that underlie the socio-cognitive constructs related to healthy eating and physical activity among lower-educated Dutch, Turkish, and Moroccan adults. No Total sample: 90 adults (54 women, 36 men) of Dutch, Turkish, and Moroccan backgrounds with low levels of education.
Aged 46.2 ± 12.6 years.
Arab subsample: 32 Moroccan adults (19 women, 13 men) with low levels of education.
Aged 47.9 years, range 31–73.
Focus groups Content analysis (Framework approach)
Saleh et al. (2018) [38]
United States
To describe the daily physical activity of Arab men living in the United States and to explore how perceptions of cardiovascular disease risk influence their inclusion of physical activity into their daily routine. Yes 20 Arab male college students.
Aged 26 ± 4 years.
Interviews Inductive content analysis
Salma et al. (2020) [39]
To discuss experiences of and barriers to physical activity from the perspective of South Asian, Arab, and African Muslim immigrant communities in an urban Canadian center in Alberta. No Total sample: 68 older Muslim adults (50 women, 18 men) from South Asian, Arab, and African backgrounds
Aged between 55 and 85 years.
Sample included older adults (n = 52) and stakeholders (n = 16).
Arab subsample: Arab-Muslims from Middle East (Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria; 26%), and Africa (Algeria, Egypt; unable to determine n).
Focus groups and interviews Thematic analysis, with intersectional approach
Södergren et al. (2008) [40]
To explore immigrant women’s attitudes toward and experiences of physical activity and exercise. No Total sample: 63 immigrant women from Chile, Iraq, and Turkey.
Aged 26–65 years.
Arab subsample: 23 Iraqi women.
Aged 26–65 years.
Focus groups Grounded theory
Sulaiman et al. (2007) [41]
The aim of the study was to identify psychosocial and cultural factors that could inform the design of a healthy lifestyle intervention program aimed at promoting physical activity and healthy eating. No Total sample: 52 Turkish and Arabic-speaking Australians (41 women, 11 men).
Aged 58.8 years, range 41–73.
Arab subsample: Arabic-speaking adults born in Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria (first generation).
Focus groups Thematic analysis
Tami et al. (2012) [42]
United States
To collect exploratory data on Arab mothers living in Lubbock, Texas regarding their dietary and physical activity behaviors; and assess the relationship of acculturation to these dietary and physical activity behaviors. Yes 22 Arab mothers of Middle Eastern origin.
Aged < 45 years.
Interviews and focus groups Thematic analysis
Taylor et al. (1998) [43]
To explore the voices, experiences and perceptions of women from non-English speaking backgrounds regarding sport participation. No Total sample: 186 women from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Arab subsample: 45 first and second-generation Lebanese women in Australia.
Interviews and focus groups Framework for nexus of sport, gender, and ethnicity, and also used theoretical analyses.
Teuscher et al. (2015) [44]
To understand how low socioeconomic status groups with different ethnic origins perceive (health) behaviours such as healthy eating and physical activity in their context. No 99 socially disadvantaged adults of Turkish, Moroccan, and Dutch backgrounds.
Mean age between 42 and 66 years.
Arab subsample: Moroccan men and women with low level of education.
Focus groups Thematic analysis
  1. Note. Some studies that included Arab migrants with other non-Arab migrant populations did not report the sample size for the Arab migrant population specifically. The mean age and standard deviation were reported if available (Participant or targeted age range was included if mean not available)