Background: The perception of barriers to exercise is an important correlate of exercise participation. However, only a limited number of studies-mostly from Western countries-have attempted to describe the perceptions of barriers to exercise in specific population groups. This study examined the associations between sociodemographic attributes and perceived barriers to exercise in Japanese adults. Methods: A population-based cross sectional study of 865 participants (age: 20-69 years old, men: 46.5%) was conducted in 4 cities in Japan. Nine sociodemographic attributes (sex, age, location of residence, educational attainment, marital status, employment status, presence of dependents in the household, self-rated health, body mass index), along with exercise frequency and perception of barriers to exercise (discomfort, lack of motivation, lack of time, lack of social support, poor environment) were assessed by self-administered questionnaire. Results: The most strongly perceived barrier was lack of time. Five of 9 sociodemographic attributes were significantly related to certain types of perceived barriers. Participants who more strongly perceived barriers were younger, more highly educated, more likely to be employed, and had relatively poor self-rated health and a high BMI. The specific types of barriers that were strongly perceived varied with the sociodemographic attributes of the participants. Conclusions: The results show that the perception of barriers to exercise varies among specific population groups, which indicates the importance of targeting exercise promotion strategies to specific populations.
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