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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61-65

Levels of physical activity and barriers to exercise among family physicians at a tertiary hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Department of Family Medicine, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lama Mohammed Al Saud
Department of Family Medicine, Security Forces Hospital, P.O. Box 3643, Riyadh 11481
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_1_22

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Introduction: To be healthy and mentally alert, physicians need to engage in physical activity, and this will improve the delivery of health care in the primary care setting. Aim: The aim of the study is to investigate the physical activity of family physicians and determine the common reasons why they do not engage in physical activity. Methods: We conducted a study among family physicians employed at Security Forces Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the final quarter of 2021. An electronic questionnaire was distributed to all consenting participants to determine their physical activity and exercise levels during the prior 7 days. Demographic data, body mass index, and reasons they were unable to exercise were also collected. Results: Sixty five family physicians participated in the study, 34 (52.3%) men and 31 (47.7%) women (mean age 34.8 ± 8.6 years). The average time spent on physical activity was 1–2 days per week, approximately 30 min per day. The average physically inactive time for all physicians was 9.3 ± 7.9 h per day, with 11 participants (16.9%) spending at least 12 h per day sitting. Among the perceived barriers to exercise and physical activity, insufficient time was the most common response (n = 37, 56.9%), followed by many responsibilities (n = 31, 47.7%). Unmarried family physicians spent more time engaged in vigorous physical activity (on average 1.9 ± 2.0 days per week, 53.6 ± 29.5 min per day) compared to married physicians (on average 0.8 ± 1.6 days per week, 32.9 ± 26.6 min per day). Conclusion: Many family medicine physicians do not engage in physical activity. Those who engage in physical activity spend approximately 30 min, 1–2 days per week, which is less than the World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity. Single physicians tend to exercise more than married physicians. Lack of time to exercise was the most common reason for physical inactivity. It is necessary to institute and incorporate physical activity sessions for family physicians, as well as educational and health programs promoting increased physical activity for a better and healthier society.


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