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Physical activity and the built environment: perceptions of policy-makers in Oman.

Authors
  • Mabry, Ruth M1
  • Al Siyabi, Huda2
  • Kannan, Muhssen2
  • Al Siyabi, Amal2
  • 1 Regional Office of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, WHO.
  • 2 Department of Community-based Initiatives, Directorate General of Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health, Oman. , (Oman)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health promotion international
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
Volume
35
Issue
4
Pages
762–770
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/heapro/daz066
PMID: 31326990
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The prevalence of physical activity is low in the Sultanate of Oman. The built environment is a key barrier to physical activity in the region. Our aim is to examine urban planners' perceptions of the relevance and feasibility of the proposed urban planning and design interventions in the draft WHO technical package on physical activity. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 professionals using a pre-tested interview guide. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Content analysis based on the socio-ecological framework (policy, physical, socio-cultural and information environment) was used to identify the perceived urban design challenges and solutions. Urban sprawl due to haphazard urban and transport design, limited accessibility to parks and sports facilities, negative perceptions about active travel and limited understanding of physical activity were key challenges identified by interviewees. Participants suggested strengthening governance through policy and intersectoral collaboration, improving community design and accessibility to parks, considering the needs of diverse populations and improving knowledge and attitudes of physical activity as priority when adapting the WHO technical package to Oman. Mid-level managers prioritized three interventions from the package: the need for political commitment and capacity building on how the built environment can promote physical activity, a national political on physical activity that promotes a safe infrastructure for active transport, and accessibility to sports and recreational facilities. Negative perceptions of active travel and cultural expectations that constrain mobility requires a society-wide paradigm shift, the first objective of the WHO global action plan. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: [email protected]

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