The study objective was to understand the barriers and facilitators to healthy active living in South Asian families living in Canada.
Semi-structured interviews of 30–60-minute duration with South Asian women with young families, and analysed using a thematic analytical approach.
Community-dwelling South Asian women interviewed in the home environment or by phone.
Fifteen married South Asian women (mean age=34.2 years) living in the Peel region of Ontario, Canada, with at least 1 child under the age of 5 years. The majority of women had immigrated to Canada (13/15), during a 5–10-year interval preceding interviews.
57 different codes were derived from 18 interview hours, and further evaluated through member checking. The top three barriers to healthy eating were: (1) not having enough time for healthy food preparation, (2) lack of knowledge about what is healthy eating and (3) viewing healthy eating as a matter of engaging in time limited dieting. These barriers were addressed with: (1) knowledge and awareness of healthy eating, (2) clear goal setting, (3) access to fresh vegetables and fruits and (4) better arrangements and more time for food preparation. The top five barriers to physical activity were: (1) not enough time and energy, (2) competing priorities, (3) lack of childcare, (4) lack of family-engaging exercise and (5) limited access to interesting exercise programming. These barriers were addressed by: (1) experiencing exercise as enjoyable and stress releasing, (2) commitments to walking exercise, (3) use of an electronic exercise-tracking device, (4) offspring exercise supported by spouse and family and (5) success stories about exercise from others.
Barriers to healthy active living in South Asian women with young families can be addressed with facilitators that stimulate clear goal setting and healthy food preparation skills, and exercise formats that engage mothers and offspring, with or without exercise tracking.