Diet and physical activity behaviour in nurses: a qualitative study

Torquati, Luciana and Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L and Pavey, Toby and Perrson, Christina and Leveritt, Michael (2016) Diet and physical activity behaviour in nurses: a qualitative study. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 54 (6). pp. 268-282. ISSN 1463-5240


Issue addressed: Previous research has shown that approximately 60% of nurses in Australia are overweight or obese, insufficiently active and have an unhealthy diet. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of nurses’ determinants contributing to these behaviours. This will inform a needs assessment for a future workplace health promotion program (WHPP) in this group. Methods: Four focus group discussions (n = 17) were conducted with a convenience sample of nurses aged 25–59 years from three hospitals in the Brisbane metropolitan area. Questions addressed barriers and motivation towards diet and physical activity (PA), and suggestions for future WHPP. Data were analysed with Nvivo10 following a thematic analysis with a realistic approach using Self-determination theory as a framework. Results: Work environment was the main barrier for healthy diet behaviours. Long working hours and lack of breaks challenged nurses’ self-control and self-regulation when making dietary choices. Fatigue was the main barrier for PA. However, relaxation, feeling energised before work and better sleep after working night shifts motivated nurses to do PA. Social environment at work seemed to be an effective external motivation to encourage healthy diet and regular PA. Goal-setting, self-monitoring and social support at work were identified as potential WHHP strategies. Conclusion: The workplace and job demands negatively impacts nurses’ lifestyle behaviours. Future interventions should include social support from colleagues, which could motivate nurses to make healthier food choices at work and be more active outside work.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published Version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the Publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2017 02:58
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2017 02:04
Uncontrolled Keywords: nutrition; physical activity; qualitative research; workplace health promotion
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics > 111104 Public Nutrition Intervention
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/14635240.2016.1169943

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