A Pilot Examination of a Mosque-Based Physical Activity Intervention for South Asian Muslim Women in Ontario, Canada


Low levels of physical activity have been reported in South Asian Muslim women. Mosques could be beneficial in providing physical activity opportunities for Muslim women. This study examined the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of a mosque-based physical activity program for South Asian Muslim women in Canada. Sixty-two South Asian Muslim women participated in a 24-week mosque-based exercise intervention. Feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of the program was evaluated by pre-post survey questions from the Duke Activity Status Index (DASI) and International Physical Activity Questionnaire among 28 women who consented to the research data collection. Nineteen women were assessed pre-and post-intervention. The women demonstrated increase in median scores of self-efficacy (90 pre vs. 100 post; p = 0.004) and the importance of engaging in regular physical activity (90 pre vs. 100 post; p = 0.01). Fewer participants were classified as inactive at the end of the intervention (42 % pre vs. 10 % post; p = 0.006). There was a mean increase in DASI scores (39.2 pre vs. 44.6 post; p = 0.06) reflecting an improvement in peak aerobic capacity and functional quality of life. Culturally relevant structured networks such as mosques are important assets when designing healthy lifestyle interventions for South Asian Muslim women.

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This study was funded by Women’s XChange at Women’s College Hospital to the first and last author. Dr. Banerjee was supported by a Post-doctoral Fellowship Award from the Canadian Institute of Health Research during the time of the study. The authors thank Kinesiologists—Maha Zawi, Farida Nurgat and Community Member—Noreen Gilani for leading the exercise sessions at the mosque. We thank Wei Wu for analyzing our study data. Lastly, the study team is indebted to the mosque council members and female exercise participants for their significant contribution to the study.

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Correspondence to Ananya Tina Banerjee.

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Banerjee, A.T., Landry, M., Zawi, M. et al. A Pilot Examination of a Mosque-Based Physical Activity Intervention for South Asian Muslim Women in Ontario, Canada. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 349–357 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-016-0393-3

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  • Physical activity promotion
  • South Asian Muslim women
  • Mosque
  • Intervention