So You Think You Can Exercise: The Gap Between Exercise Confidence And Physical Activity Among Samoan Adults
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Samoa is experiencing one of the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in the world, placing its population at increased risk of developing several noncommunicable diseases including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The role of physical activity in reducing the burden of these diseases and overweight is well-established. Exercise self-efficacy or confidence is a predictor, if not determinant, of recreational physical activity. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to assess the relationship between exercise confidence and levels of recreational physical activity among Samoan adults. We confirm that exercise confidence is correlated with time spent exercising. However, despite considerable spread in exercise confidence scores, participation in recreational physical activity is extremely limited. Social support may mediate the association between confidence and activity. The results suggest that a considerable share of the population reports high levels of confidence in their ability to engage in exercise, but this is not translating into actual physical activity. Other barriers to exercise need to be addressed among this group. Conversely, a large group also report low levels of confidence, indicating the potential for interventions promoting exercise self-efficacy as a way to increase participation in exercise.