OBJECTIVES: to explore which factors have a personal significance of barrier or facilitator for physical activity (PA) in sedentary subjects living in a peripheral, multiethnic, and economically disadvantaged Italian neighbourhood.
DESIGN: qualitative, descriptive phenomenological study.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: the study was carried out in Ponte Lambro, a neighbourhood in the South-eastern outskirts of Milan (Lombardy Region, Northern Italy). Among the first 260 participants in a primary cardiovascular prevention programme (called ProSALUTE) targeted to this community, 63 subjects were categorized as sedentary. Out of these, 45 were selected through purposive sampling and 24 of them participated in this study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: • qualitative content analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted through motivational interviewing; • analysis of values acquired by personal value cards.
RESULTS: the factors emerged throughout the interviews were external (social support, environment, and tools) and individual (health status, self-confidence, reliance on the beneficial effects of PA, psychological issues). Barriers or facilitators were recognized in each of these factors according to the expressed significance. The most frequently chosen personal values (health, family, delight, strength and autonomy) were concordant with the contents of the interviews.
CONCLUSION: distinctive barriers and facilitators to PA are identifiable among the significances expressed by residents in a disadvantaged neighbourhood. These barriers and facilitators may be the targets of socio-environmental or personal interventions aimed to promote an active life-style.