Encouraging Exercise Participation amongst UK South Asians: The Case of a Community Gym

Nigel King, Anne Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regular physical activity(PA) is recognised as playing a key role in promoting good health and tackling obesity. In many parts of the world there are concerns that people do not undertake sufficient PA, and that this problem is often worse for certain groups in the population. Low levels of PA amongst South Asian (SA) adults in the United Kingdom concern health policy makers and professionals because of the higher incidence of heart disease in this group than in the general population. Interventions have helped increase PA levels in white populations but have shown little success in engaging SA adults. One explanation is that interventions emphasise individual responsibility for health and pay relatively less attention to socio-cultural constraints on behaviour. Using qualitative, semi-structured interviews, we investigated influences on PA amongst 13 SA adults (aged 23-70) living in Halifax, Yorkshire, UK. The setting for our study was the participants’ community gym. A key aim was to identify characteristics of the gym that influenced usage by the local SA population. We found the gym had successfully engaged SA adults in a programme of regular PA, and that a sense of its “embeddedness” in the local community was crucial to this. Implications for practice and research in health promotion and obesity prevention are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-59
Number of pages14
JournalAsian Journal of Human Services
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


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