Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Motivators and barriers to engaging in healthy eating and physical activity in young adult men: a cross-sectional study. (#216)

Lee Ashton , Melinda Hutchesson 1 , Megan Rollo 1 , Philip Morgan 2 , Clare Collins 1
  1. School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
  2. School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Background: Worldwide, young men (aged 18-25 years) have a high prevalence of obesity and many fail to meet dietary guidelines or recommended physical activity (PA) levels. However, there is a lack of understanding of young men’s perspectives on PA and diet. This study aims to explore young men’s motivators and barriers to engaging in healthy eating and PA. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was completed by young men (18-25 years) currently living in Australia in July 2015. Results: Preliminary results (n=217) show most participants were of a healthy weight (59.3%), with 26.2% overweight and 11.7% obese. On average, young men completed 42 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) per day and 96% failed to consume sufficient serves of fruit and vegetables (based on age/sex recommendations). The main motivators for healthy eating were to improve: health (28.1% ranked as top motivator); body image (18.1%) and sports performance (10.4%). Key motivators to PA participation included to improve: body image (19.4%), health (12.0%) and for enjoyment (14.3%). The main barriers to healthy eating included: perceived accessibility of unhealthy foods (22.7% ranked as top barrier), lack of time to cook/prepare healthy foods (19.5%), and high cost of healthy foods (16.4%). Key barriers to PA included lack of: time (28.6%), motivation (27.6%) and injury (12.4%). Conclusion: This study is continuing but early results have shown unique motivators and barriers for young men which have not been identified in other population groups i.e. to improve sport performance and restricted by perceived accessibility of unhealthy foods. It is important to consider these unique motivators and barriers when developing and evaluating interventions to improve young men’s eating and PA behaviours.