Adolescents' physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study of mothers' perspectives

Andriyani, Fitria Dwi and Biddle, Stuart J. H. ORCID: and De Cocker, Katrien (2021) Adolescents' physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study of mothers' perspectives. BMC Public Health, 21:1864.

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Background: Socio-behavioural adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic may have significantly affected adolescents' lifestyle. This study aimed to explore possible reasons affecting changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Indonesian adolescents during the pandemic based on mothers' perspectives.

Methods: We recruited parents (n = 20) from the Yogyakarta region of Indonesia (July-August 2020) using purposive and snowball sampling. Individual interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and anonymised. Data were imported into NVivo software for a reflexive thematic analysis.

Results: The interviews lasted between 38 and 113 min (M = 65 min). Participants' age ranged between 36 and 54 years (M = 42.6 years). Participants' children ranged in age from 12 to 15 years (M = 13.7 years, female: 9, male: 11). Themes related to changes in physical activity during the pandemic were 1) self-determination and enjoyment, 2) supports from others, and 3) physical activity facilities and equipment. Themes related to changes in sedentary behaviour during the pandemic included 1) educational demands, 2) psychological effects due to the pandemic, 3) devices and internet availability, 4) parental control, and 5) social facilitators.

Conclusions: During the pandemic, mothers perceived their children to be less active and using more screen-based devices, either for educational or recreational purposes, compared to before. The present themes might be useful when developing interventions and policies promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour in adolescents. Interventions could, for example, consider increasing parents' and adolescents' awareness on current activity guidelines, providing education on healthier recreational screen time, and involving parents, peers, and teachers. Increasing the accessibility of physical activity facilities and equipment, making use of adolescents' favourite program and social media for interventions, and providing activities that are fun and enjoyable may also important.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2021)
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2021 05:22
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 01:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; health; physical activity; screen time; sedentary behaviour; youth
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified
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