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Exercise, Adolescents, Focus group, Obesity



  1. Loman, Deborah G. PhD, RN, CPNP


Purpose: To describe adolescent girls' views about physical activity and explore strategies that nurses can use to promote physical activity.


Study Design and Methods: A qualitative study using focus groups and interviews with 28 girls (12-18 years of age) recruited from schools and neighborhood health centers in a Midwest metropolitan area. An interview guide with 15 open-ended questions was used, and data were analyzed using content analysis.


Results: Most girls preferred the phrase "physical activity" over "exercise." The benefits most frequently mentioned included positive physical attributes, mental health benefits, and staying healthy. Three major themes were identified: autonomy (ask them what they like to do, and then provide choices), fun (being with friends, variation, and enjoyment), and body image (gaining weight, appearance, and self-confidence).


Clinical Implications: Nursing interventions to promote physical activity and other healthy lifestyle changes that may prevent obesity should include active listening and a focus on the goals of the teen. Nurses need to evaluate their teaching and counseling approach, because the teens emphasized two points: "Don't tell me what to do" and "Don't put me down."