Skip to main content

01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 1/2016

Physical inactivity among physiotherapy undergraduates: exploring the knowledge-practice gap

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation > Ausgabe 1/2016
Chathuranga Ranasinghe, Chathurani Sigera, Priyanga Ranasinghe, Ranil Jayawardena, Ayodya C. R. Ranasinghe, Andrew P. Hills, Neil King
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13102-016-0063-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Physical inactivity is a common risk factor for several non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Increasing physical activity could reduce the burden of disease due to major NCDs and increase life expectancy. Undergraduate physiotherapy students represent a group of young-adults expected to have a good knowledge of physical activity. We evaluated physical activity levels of undergraduate physiotherapy students of University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and determined their motives and barriers for participation in physical activity.


All physiotherapy undergraduates studying at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2013 were invited for the study. Phase one was a quantitative study to evaluate the physical activity levels and phase two was a qualitative study to identify motives and barriers for physical activity and sports in the same cohort. Physical activity levels (phase 1) were assessed using the interviewer administered International Physical Activity Questionnaire (long-version). The qualitative study (phase 2) was conducted in the same population using Focus Group Discussions (n = 3) and individual In-depth Interviews (n = 5).


Sample size in phase 1 and phase 2 were 113 (response rate = 98%; [N-115]) and 87 (response rat = 97%; [N-90]) respectively. Mean age (±SD) of participants was 23.4 ± 1 years. The mean weekly total MET minutes (±SD) of the study population was 1791.25 ± 3097. According to the IPAQ categorical score a higher percentage of participants were ‘inactive’ (48.7%), while only 15.9% were in the ‘Highly active’ group. Lack of support and encouragement received during childhood to engage in sports activity seem to have played an important role in continuing their exercise behavior through to the adult life. Academic activities were given priority by both parents and teachers. The environment and support from teachers, family and friends were important to initiate and adhere to sports and physical activity.


A higher percentage of participants were ‘inactive’, in spite of belonging to a group which is presumed to be knowledgeable regarding the benefits of physical activity. A significant negative attitude towards physical activity was observed in this cohort of young-adults. This seems to stem from earlier in life, due to lack of support and motivation for physical exercise and sports, received during primary and secondary schooling. This negative attitude has become a significant ‘internal’ barrier, which has not been changed in spite of their education.
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2016

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 1/2016 Zur Ausgabe



Grundlagenwissen der Arthroskopie und Gelenkchirurgie. Erweitert durch Fallbeispiele, DICOM-Daten, Videos und Abbildungen. » Jetzt entdecken

Neu im Fachgebiet Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.