The Six Categories of Participation in Physical Activity Among Older Chinese Australians

By Fung Kuen Koo.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Physical inactivity is a major health issue for Australia, with almost half the population being insufficiently active for a healthy lifestyle. This study explores the attitudes towards and barriers to participation in physical activity among older Chinese Australians. Data were collected by means of in-depth interviews, participant observation and case study. Twenty-two participants were interviewed, ranging in age from 60–91. The transcripts and field notes were analyzed, summarized and typologized, identifying six categories of participation in physical activity, namely “Inactive”, “Irregular”, “Enforced Acceptance”, “Practical”, “Emerging” and “Physical Activity Supporter”. Findings also demonstrated that this group possessed specific views of health, their specific attitudes towards life, and specific perceptions of ageing. These views were deeply rooted in Chinese traditional philosophies and strongly influenced their intention of participation in physical activity. Understanding this group’s specific cultural and health beliefs may indicate ways health promoters could develop culturally appropriate physical activity programs.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Cultural Belief, Health Belief, Chinese, Attitudes towards Physical Activity, Barriers to Physical Activity Participation

Aging and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.67-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 606.553KB).

Dr. Fung Kuen Koo

Lecturer, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Fung Kuen is currently a lecturer at the Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney. Her research interests include health and social issues of Chinese migrants, cultural and health beliefs, physical activity, health education and health promotion. She has worked as a registered nurse in Australia and Hong Kong. Her clinical expertise is predominately in chronic nursing care. She has worked in Vietnamese refugee camps and intensive aged care in Hong Kong. She also has a passion for promoting preventive health among the Chinese community in Australia. She has conducted several health promotion programs for Australian Chinese Radio (2AC) to promote preventive health care for older Chinese migrants.