• Vol. 42 No. 5, 225–231
  • 15 May 2013

A New Community-Based Outdoor Intervention to Increase Physical Activity in Singapore Children: Findings from Focus Groups

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Myopia is a significant public health problem in Singapore with estimates that more than 50% of the population is affected by it by the time of adulthood. Childhood obesity is also increasing and has been linked to long-term health problems. Recent studies have found that Singaporean children in Primary 1 spend less than 3 hours a day outdoors which is less than children in other countries. Physical activity has been shown to be protective against obesity and recently, there has been some evidence to suggest that time spent outdoors may reduce the prevalence and severity of myopia. This study aims to explore the barriers and enablers to children in Singapore participating in outdoor activities.

Materials and Methods: Qualitative data, gathered from focus group discussions was thematically analysed against the PRECEDE component of the PRECEDE-PROCEED model which provided a conceptual framework for examining factors relevant to children participating in an outdoor activity intervention. A total of 31 people participated in 4 focus groups held over a 6-month period.

Results: This feasibility study was exploratory in nature but provided valuable information concerning barriers and enablers to participation. Data informed the development of a larger study.

Conclusion: Results indicated that families preferred structured activities such as orienteering and a choice of weekend attendance days and times.


The World Health Organization asserts that uncorrected refractive errors are the second leading cause of blindness globally and the main cause of low vision. High myopia,
defined as being greater than –6.0 dioptres is associated with primary open-angle glaucoma, retinal pathologies such as retinal detachment and cataract. Lin et al5 found
that the second most common cause of visual impairment and blindness among elderly Taiwanese was myopic retinopathy. Similar findings have been found in China and Singapore. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that myopia is also a significant cause of visual impairment and blindness in western populations.

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