PERCEPTIONS ON BENEFITS AND BARRIERS TO EXERCISE AMONG GOVERNMENT SERVANTS AND THE ASSOCIATED FACTORS
Physical inactivity or lack of exercise has been acknowledged as a global health issue that may contribute to the development of non-communicable disease. Malaysia showed a high prevalence of physical inactivity. This situation is worrisome as 1.4 million of the population comprises of government servants. This study was aimed to determine the perceptions on benefits and barriers to exercise among government servants of a ministry in Putrajaya and the associated factors.
A cross sectional study was carried out at Ministry of Education, Putrajaya from April to July 2014. A total of 173 respondents (selected using two stage cluster sampling) completed the Exercise Benefit/Barrier Scale (EBBS) questionnaire.
Median perceived benefit score of exercise showed significant association with gender and educational level, where U value=2028.5, p=0.001 (p<0.05) and X2(2)=7.525, p=0.023 (p<0.05) respectively. Meanwhile, analysis showed statistically significant association between parity and current health status with perceived barrier score of exercise, where X2(2)=7.064, p=0.029 (p<0.05) and X2(1)=3.293, p=0.048 (p<0.05) respectively. Pairwise comparison between parity (none) and parity (more than 3) with perceived barrier score showed a significant difference where U value=442.0 and p=0.006 (p<0.017).
The findings indicate there were significant associations between gender and educational level with perceived benefit to exercise and significant associations between parity and current health status with perceived barrier to exercise. Hence, policy makers should consider these factors when planning to develop interventions to improve the participation in exercise.
Key words: exercise, perceived benefit, perceived barrier, government servants