Benefits and Barriers to Exercise among Individuals with Class III Obesity

Am J Health Behav. 2019 Nov 1;43(6):1136-1147. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.43.6.11.


Objectives: In this paper, we describe the degree of exercise and sedentary behavior among individuals with class III obesity, identify perceived benefits and barriers to exercise, and discuss the association of exercise barriers with activity and sedentary behavior. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study at a tertiary care center. Adults with class III obesity referred to the Bariatric Program completed the exercise benefits/barriers scale, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short-Form, and the Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire. Participants were asked to list additional exercise barriers. Results: The 80 participants engaged in a median of 699.0 MET-minutes/week of physical activity, and were sedentary 10.4 ± 4.5 hours/day. The mean exercise benefits/barriers score was 126.3 ± 12.8 (barrier score = 31.6 ± 5.3, benefit score = 87.8 ± 9.4). Less than 60% identified exercise as enjoyable, or a form of social interaction. More than 60% identified exercise barriers related to physical exertion. Additional barriers included pain and musculoskeletal comorbidities (39.4%), psychological factors (14.7%), and weight (12.6%). There was no statistically significant association between exercise barriers and sedentary behavior (p = .69) or physical activity (p = .08). Conclusions: Participants reported low physical activity, with high sedentary behavior and exercise barriers. Physical exertion, pain and musculoskeletal comorbidities were common barriers, which highlights importance of thoughtful exercise with attention to exercise barriers in this population .

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / classification*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires