Barriers from Multiple Perspectives Towards Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, Physical Activity and Dietary Habits When Living in Low Socio-Economic Areas in Europe. The Feel4Diabetes Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Dec 13;15(12):2840. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15122840.


This study investigated barriers towards health behaviours (physical activity, limiting sedentary behaviour and healthy dietary habits) experienced by young European families living in vulnerable areas, from multiple perspectives (parents, teachers, local community workers). Focus groups were conducted in six European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Greece and Spain). In each country, three focus groups were conducted with parents, one with teachers and one with local community workers. Data were analysed using a deductive framework approach with a manifest content analysis using the software NVivo. The present study identified barriers on four levels (individual, interpersonal, organisational and macro level) of a socio-ecological model of health behaviour. From parents' perspectives, both general barriers (e.g., financial limitations and lack of time) and country-specific barriers (e.g., organisational difficulties and inappropriate work environment) were identified. Additional barriers (e.g., lack of parental knowledge and lack of parental skills) were provided by other stakeholders (i.e., teachers and local community workers). The results of this study demonstrate the additional value of including multiple perspectives when developing a lifestyle intervention aiming to prevent type 2 diabetes in vulnerable groups. Future lifestyle interventions are recommended to include multiple components (family, school, and community) and could be implemented across European countries if country-specific adaptations are allowed.

Keywords: European study; Feel4Diabetes-study; dietary habits; low socio-economic status; physical activity; qualitative study; sedentary behaviour; type 2 diabetes prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Vulnerable Populations* / psychology
  • Vulnerable Populations* / statistics & numerical data