There are a number of correlates with involvement or failure to participate in physical activity. The reasons women fail to participate in physical activity may be related to personal, social or organizational constraints (Henderson, 1998). Among the younger population Van Der Horst et al. (2007) indicate that parental involvement in physical activity influenced the participation of males. Parental support was also found to be significant.
Within the older population previous exercise experience (Oman & King, 1998), health status (Evangelista, Kagawa-Singer & Dracup, 2001), motivation (Ryan, Frederick, Lepes, Rubio & Sheldon, 1997), neighborhood environment (Brownson et al. , 2000), self-efficacy (Laffrey, 2000) and barriers to PA (Brownson, Baker, Housemann, Brennan & Bacak, 2001) are significant predictors of involvement in physical activity. Sit and Lindner (2006) ranked the reported reasons for involvement in physical activity highlighting the top five reasons as fun, because of the action, to keep physically fit, to be around friends and to attain a high skill level.
Tergerson and King (2002) indicate the three most common reasons for female physical activity involvement – to stay in shape, to lose weight and increase energy. For males these reasons were to build strength, stay in shape and for competition. It is important to contextualize the reasons for female failure to become involved in LTPA. Fullagar (2003) indicates that this behavior could be linked to the concept of self-surveillance which prevents them from taking part in LTPA whether in the public or private arena.
James (2001) report that women felt more comfortable in their bedrooms and least comfortable at public swimming pools (as cited by Fullagar, 2003). This behavior is explained in their attempt to ensure what Fullagar terms as body safety. Women are very self conscious and aware of their body image and thus try to manage how they appear in the eyes of males. They refrain from physical exercise activities, especially in public, because this exposes them to male scrutiny, which, if they have a low self-concept, will not be desirous.
The issue of body image therefore comes into play in trying to analyze the motivations that prevent female involvement in physical activity. Conclusion Though research has examined the concepts of self they have not adequately addressed the issue of body image and how this invariably deters or encourages women to take part in LTPA. It is evident that body image concepts held by females could be impacting their involvement in physical activity and thus this is an important deficiency in existing research.
The current research will examine the issue of body image in detail to determine if it does in fact act as a predictor of physical activity behavior among females. This research will examine the body image conceptualization of females along with their LTPA patterns in order to determine a correlation between these two. It is anticipated that data will show at least a minimal impact of body image on willingness to participate in physical activity among females.
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