Journal Article

Time limits? Reflecting and responding to time barriers for healthy, active living in Australia

Lyndall Strazdins, Dorothy H. Broom, Cathy Banwell, Tessa McDonald and Helen Skeat

in Health Promotion International

Volume 26, issue 1, pages 46-54
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daq060
Time limits? Reflecting and responding to time barriers for healthy, active living in Australia

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Lack of time is the main reason people say they do not exercise or use public transport, so addressing time barriers is essential to achieving health promotion goals. Our aim was to investigate how time barriers are viewed by the people who develop programs to increase physical activity or use active transport. We studied five interventions and explored the interplay between views and strategies. Some views emphasized personal choice and attitudes, and strategies to address time barriers were focused on changing personal priorities or perceptions. Other views emphasized social-structural sources of time pressures, and provided pragmatic ideas to free up time. The most nuanced strategies to address time barriers were employed by programs that researched and solicited the views of potential participants. Two initiatives re-shaped their campaigns to incorporate ways to save time, and framed exercise or active transport as a means to achieve other, pressing, priorities. Time shortages also posed problems for one intervention that relied on the unpaid time of volunteers. Time-sensitive health and active transport interventions are needed, and the methods and approaches we describe could serve as useful, preliminary models.

Keywords: time pressure; physical activity; active transport; health equity

Journal Article.  4929 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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