Online Program

Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of muslim women towards physical activity

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sara Elnakib, RD, Health Education and Behavioral Science, UMDNJ- School of Public Health, Montclair, NJ
Obesity trends have accelerated in the last century and have been the focus of recent research. Some studies suggest the prevalence of inactivity among Muslim women is as high as 43.3%–99.5%. Despite the unique needs and restrictions faced by Muslim women when trying to be exercise, there is very little research on the topic. This study seeks to address this research gap by focusing on the beliefs, barriers and attitudes towards physical activity among Muslim women. An online survey was conducted via the Muslim Mom Network. The Muslim Mom Network is an opt-in group blog. The survey included questions on demographics, perceived barriers and perceived motivational factors.A total of 110 women completed the survey. Overall, 25% women reported they met the moderate intensity physical activity recommendations for Healthy People 2010. The top five perceived barriers were; no child care at the gym, monetary cost of gym, lack of privacy at gym, family responsibilities and no time to be physically active. Modest clothing was not one of the top five barriers however when we stratified for adherence to Islamic dress code we found it to be a major barrier among women who wear the Islamic head scarf.This study suggests that Muslim women face social and environmental barriers similar to that of US women as well as a host of cultural and religious barriers that can influence their physical activity.Future interventions for this population should address some of the Muslim Women's specific barriers in addition to the usual barriers faced by women.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the top 5 barriers to physical activity in Muslim women. Explain how religious attire plays a role in Muslim women's physical inactivity. Compare physical activity levels of Muslim women who participated in school sports with those who did not participate in school sports.

Keyword(s): Minority Health, Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a registered dietitian, I am very interested in being exposed to nutrition and wellness in a variety of settings. I have had a strong interest in cultural competency towards the Muslim community for may years. This research was a result of a capstone project I completed at the end of my Masters in Public Health program at UMDNJ. For this project I completed over 400 hours of survey development, data collection and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.