Physical activity and inactivity in Chinese school-aged youth: The China Health and Nutrition Survey

C. Tudor-Locke, B. E. Ainsworth, L. S. Adair, S. Du, B. M. Popkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe physical activity (PA) and inactivity levels and patterns in Chinese school children (aged 6-18y). DESIGN: PA and inactivity were assessed in a youth cohort enrolled in the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) in 1997. SUBJECTS: A total of 1423 males (11.5 ± 3.2y) and 1252 females (11.5 ± 3.3y). MEASUREMENTS: PA and inactivity were assessed by self-reported usual activity (questionnaire). Children under 10y were assisted by parents. RESULTS: Approximately 84% of Chinese youth actively commute to school for a median of 100-150 min/week. A total of 72% engage in in-school moderate/vigorous (MOD/VIG) PA for a median of 90-110 min/week. Relatively few children (≈ 8%) participate in any MOD/VIG PA outside of school. A total of 72% engage in study-related activities outside of school for a median of 420 min/week. Only 8% of Chinese school children, regardless of gender, watch television ≥ 2 h/day; less than 1% watch ≥ 4 h/day. Chores related to housework are not a part of life for Chinese school children; fewer than 20% performed these tasks. CONCLUSION: Chinese youth are unique compared to those in other developing countries because they do not perform household chores. Instead, they are under pressure to achieve scholastically. Participation in MOD/VIG PA outside of school is almost nonexistent. Current television watching habits are relatively low compared to developed countries and walking/biking is a common form of commuting. The descriptive analysis herein represents the foundation upon which future longitudinal studies of PA in this population will be based.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1099
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Volume27
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

Keywords

  • Active commuting
  • Exercise
  • Sports
  • Television
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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