Background: Physical inactivity (PI) is considered one of the risk factors for developing diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and obesity. In Saudi Arabia, extensive research has shown that PI is a public health problem. The aim of the present study was to find what the factors are and reasons affect physical activity among students at Al-Imam Mohammed ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSIU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: A cross-sectional quantitative descriptive study was conducted including students from IMSIU with from different colleges during the period from May to June 2018. It was a self-administrated questionnaire and comprised of 5 parts to explore the factors affecting physical activity, 290 participants who met the inclusion criteria were included in the study.
Results: Body mass index (BMI) was calculated for all participants and it showed that 48.6 % of the participants were above the normal range and that would put them under the risk of health problems. Of the factors that prevent participants from doing physical activity, time constraints were the highest factor for both males and females (46.2%, 34.8%, respectively). Female students expressed higher constrain than males in relation to a sedentary lifestyle (26%), besides not being able to find suitable places to do physical activity (16.2%). While males expressed higher constraint in relation to time (46.2%), atmosphere (20.4%) and suffering from a disease (4.0%).
Conclusion: There is a high rate of physical inactivity and lack of physical activity among students at IMSIU in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with an increase of weight, which urge the need of increasing the awareness of physical activity and provision of a stimulating culture for physical exercise and building the interest among all students.
Key words: Physical inactivity, obesity, exercise, students, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh