Physical activity experiences from the perspective of adolescent females in Northwestern Ontario communities
Holden, Becky June
Master of Public Health
SubjectTeenage girls Recreation Ontario, Northwestern
Physical fitness for youth Ontario, Northwestern
Physical fitness for girls Ontario, Northwestern
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Purpose: To explore the experiences of female youth residing in rural Northwestern Ontario communities with physical activity and gain insight into ways to enhance opportunities for females to be physically active. Background: Physical activity participation steadily declines as females reach adolescence and there is significant gap between participation in physical activity between males and females. The uniqueness of rural Northwestern Ontario communities may provide additional motivators or barriers that affect physical activity participation that may help explain the decline and differences between male and female behaviours. Methodology: Qualitative research methods were used to collect data from participants. Six adolescent females, between 15-16 years old enrolled in at a public secondary school and who reside in rural communities within Northwestern Ontario, voluntarily participated in this research study. Four females were from a First Nation community and participated in a focus group. Two females participated in individual face to face interviews and were from rural communities within the same district. Grounded theory methods were used to analyze and report information collected through line by line coding and allowing themes to emerge from participants' responses. Findings: Participants shared that physical activity is influenced by a variety of factors and not only one factor can contribute to behaviour change. Participants discussed existing motivators and barriers and areas of where improvement is needed to increase participation in physical activity among their population. Factors for participating in physical activity included improving physical appearance, achieving a sense of personal accomplishment, influence of peers and adult involvement, and the range and type of opportunities and resources available. 'Participants also provided valuable insight to enhance programs to increase physical activity participation for female adolescents.