Assessing physical activity levels in people living with a stoma
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessing physical activity levels in people living with a stoma

Bethany Grace Lowe Deputy ward sister, special receiving unit, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, England
Eman Alsaleh Lecturer in nursing, Philadelphia University, Amman, Jordan
Holly Blake Associate professor of behavioural science, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, and National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise the challenges of maintaining physical activity for people with a stoma

  • To understand how you can assess the physical activity levels of a person with a stoma

  • To familiarise yourself with the effects on quality of life of living with a stoma

Physical activity is important for physical and mental health; however, people with a stoma commonly experience a reduction in physical activity following stoma formation. Further research into physical activity levels in people living with a stoma is necessary to determine which factors are associated with engagement in regular physical activity, and with inactivity.

Aim The primary aim of this study was to assess physical activity levels in adults living with a stoma in the community. The secondary aim was to investigate the relationship between activity levels, self-efficacy for exercise, perceived benefits and barriers to exercise, depression, body image and stoma-related quality of life.

Method A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was sent to healthy individuals living with a urostomy, ileostomy or colostomy, recruited from six stoma support groups in the East Midlands. The primary measure was physical activity levels; secondary measures were self-efficacy for exercise, perceived barriers and benefits to physical activity, depression, body image and stoma-related quality of life. Descriptive analysis of the data was undertaken using a computer analysis package.

Results The questionnaire was sent to 116 adults and completed by 94 adults, giving a response rate of 81%. Of the participants who answered the questions on levels of physical activity, 83% (n=71/86) did not achieve government-recommended levels of physical activity. Less active participants perceived greater barriers to physical activity and had lower self-efficacy for exercise than participants who were more active. Reported physical activity was not associated with body image, depression or stoma-related quality of life.

Conclusion Most participants were physically inactive. Interventions that reduce barriers to exercise and support self-efficacy in people with a stoma can assist them to increase their physical activity levels, as well as reducing the risk of chronic disease associated with sedentary lifestyles.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11278

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Lowe BG, Alsaleh E, Blake H (2019) Assessing physical activity levels in people living with a stoma. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11278

Published online: 09 December 2019

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