Parental Perspectives of Barriers to Physical Activity in Urban Schoolchildren With Asthma

Amy Kornblit, Agnieszka Cain, Laurie J. Bauman, Nicole M. Brown, Marina Reznik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: Physical activity (PA) levels are low in today's youth and may even be lower in those with asthma. Barriers to PA have not been well studied in inner-city minority children with asthma. We conducted a qualitative study to characterize parental perceptions of barriers to PA and ways to improve PA levels in children with asthma. Methods: We used the socioecologic model to inform development of our interview guide. Questions fell into 2 socioecologic model domains: interpersonal (parent, family) barriers and community (neighborhood, school) barriers. Qualitative semistructured interviews were conducted with 23 parents (21 mothers, 2 fathers) of inner-city children with asthma (aged 8–10 years) from 10 Bronx, New York, elementary schools. Sampling continued until thematic saturation was reached. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and independently coded for common themes. Emerging themes were discussed and agreed on by investigators. Results: Three themes surrounding interpersonal barriers to PA emerged: 1) parental fear of exercise-induced asthma due to lack of child symptom awareness, 2) nonadherence and refusal to take medications, and 3) challenges with asthma management. Four themes around community barriers to PA emerged: 1) lack of trust in school management of asthma, 2) lack of school PA facilities, 3) unsafe neighborhoods, and 4) financial burden of PA. Conclusions: A complex, multilevel set of barriers to PA exist in children with asthma. Addressing these barriers by involving stakeholders at the family, school, and community levels may improve PA levels in children with asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • barriers
  • exercise
  • pediatric asthma
  • qualitative study
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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