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Correlates, facilitators and barriers of physical activity among primary care patients with prediabetes in Singapore – a mixed methods approach

  • Lim, Raymond Boon Tar1
  • Wee, Wei Keong2
  • For, Wei Chek2
  • Ananthanarayanan, Jayalakshmy Aarthi2
  • Soh, Ying Hua2
  • Goh, Lynette Mei Lim3
  • Tham, Dede Kam Tyng1
  • Wong, Mee Lian1
  • 1 National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Tahir Foundation Building, 12 Science Drive 2, #10-01, Singapore, Singapore city, 117549, Singapore , Singapore city (Singapore)
  • 2 Health Promotion & Preventive Care, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, 3 Fusionopolis Link, [email protected], South Tower, #05-10, Singapore, Singapore city, 138543, Singapore , Singapore city (Singapore)
  • 3 National University Polyclinics and National University Health System, 1 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore, Singapore city, 609606, Singapore , Singapore city (Singapore)
Published Article
BMC Public Health
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jan 02, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-7969-5
Springer Nature


BackgroundPrimary care patients with prediabetes is a priority group in the clinical, organisational and policy contexts. Engaging in regular physical activity is crucial to prevent diabetes for this group. The objectives of the study were to assess factors associated with meeting the recommendation of at least 150 min of moderate/vigorous physical activity weekly, and to explore facilitators and barriers related to the behaviour among primary care patients with prediabetes in Singapore.MethodsThis was a mixed methods study, consisting of a cross-sectional survey involving 433 participants from 8 polyclinics, and in-depth interviews with 48 of them. Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) were obtained by mixed effects Poisson regression model. The socio-ecological model (SEM) was applied, and thematic analysis performed.ResultsThe prevalence of meeting the recommendation was 65.8%. This was positively associated with being male (aPR 1.21, 95%CI 1.09–1.34), living in 4–5 room public housing (aPR 1.19, 95%CI 1.07–1.31), living in executive flat/private housing (aPR 1.26, 95%CI 1.06–1.50), having family members/friends to exercise with (aPR 1.57, 95%CI 1.38–1.78); and negatively associated with a personal history of osteoarthritis (aPR 0.75, 95%CI 0.59–0.96), as well as time spent sitting or reclining daily (aPR 0.96, 95%CI 0.94–0.98). The recurrent themes for not meeting the recommendation included lacking companionship from family members/friends, medical conditions hindering physical activity (particularly osteoarthritis), lacking knowledge/skills to exercise properly, “no time” to exercise and barriers pertaining to exercise facilities in the neighbourhood. The recurrent themes for meeting the recommendation included family/peer influence, health/well-being concerns and education by healthcare professionals.ConclusionsMuch more remains to be done to promote physical activity among primary care patients with prediabetes in Singapore. Participants reported facilitators and barriers to physical activity at different levels of the SEM. Apart from the individual and interpersonal levels, practitioners and policy makers need to work together to address the organisational, community and policy barriers to physical activity.

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