Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Stages of Change for Regular Physical Activity among Government Employees

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Stages of Change for Regular Physical Activity among Government Employees

Article excerpt


The number of global deaths due to nutrition-related non-communicable diseases are anticipated to rise from 23.8 million in 2002(World Health Organization, 2003) to 34.8 million in 2030 (Mather & Loncar, 2006). Similarly, non-communicable diseases are the main causes of morbidity and mortality in Malaysia(Ministry of Health, 2004). The Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased from 43.1% in 2006(Institute for Public Health, 2008) to 44.5% in 2011 (Institute for Public Health, 2011). The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension among adults aged ≥18 years has also increased from 11.6% and 32.2%(Institute for Public Health, 2008) to 15.2% and 32.7% in 2011 (Institute for Public Health, 2011), respectively.

Physical inactivity is pandemic and noticeably one of the top four risk factors for non-communicable diseases(World Health Organization, 2009). Approximately 3.2 million people die annually due to physical inactivity(World Health Organization, 2011). People who are inadequately physically active have a 20-30% greater risk of all causes of mortality. Regular physical activity lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease stemming from high blood pressure, as well as morbidity from high blood glucose, breast cancer and associated psychological problems. Inadequate physical activity is highest in high-income nations. However, very high levels are now seen in some middle-income nations as well as among women(World Health Organization, 2011). In Malaysia, the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2011(Institute for Public Health, 2011) demonstrated that 35.2% of Malaysian adults aged ≥18 years old were physically inactive, with the highest prevalence of physical inactivity reported in Putrajaya (57.3%). For instance, 10.2% of the burden of disease in Malaysia caused by coronary heart disease can be eradicated if all inactive Malaysians become active. The burden of disease among Malaysians due to physical inactivity was 12.6% for type 2 diabetes, 17.1% for breast cancer and 18.2% for colon cancer(Lee et al., 2012).

The advantages of engaging in regular physical activity are evident(Warburton, Katzmarzyk, Rhodes & Shephard, 2007; Warburton, Nicol & Bredin, 2006) and the majority of Malaysians are aware of the substantial physical and psychological health advantages achieved from an active lifestyle and intend to engage in physical activity(Warburton et al., 2007). However, prevalence of inactivity among Malaysians is high, as discussed earlier. Connecting the intention to engage in physical activity with following through with the behaviour seems a suitable task for health promoters(Rhodes, Plotnikoff& Courneya, 2008).

The Transtheoretical Model was initially proposed to explain smoking behaviour change(Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) and was later applied to the study of exercise behaviour(Marcus & Simkin, 1993). This health behaviour change model is also referred to as the Stages of Change Model,and has been frequently used to classify individuals' readiness to change and adopt an active lifestyle. The model can be categorized into five stages, with each stage requiring a different approach to meet the individuals' requirements and ultimately aims to change his behaviour(Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983).

The Stages of Change Model has been used to identify individuals' readiness for physical activity. Many studies have recommended that matching stages of change of an individual with intervention strategies can produce better outcomes(Adams & White, 2003; Bock, Marcus, Pinto & Forsyth, 2001). Interventions which apply the Transtheoretical Model have been suggested as an effective method of encouraging physical activity(Adams & White, 2003). Identifying the characteristics of individuals undergoing physical activitybehaviour change is a crucial step to understand their needs for physical activity intervention. …

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