Environmental correlates of sedentary behaviors and physical activity in Chinese preschool children: A cross-sectional study

Congchao Lu*, Tong Shen, Guowei Huang, Eva Corpeleijn

*Corresponding author for this work

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: This cross-sectional study examined environmental correlates of sedentary behavior (SB) and physical activity (PA) in preschool children in the urban area of Tianjin, China.

Methods: Data were collected from the Physical Activity and Health in Tianjin Chinese Children study, involving healthy children 3–6 years old and their families. In all children (n = 980), leisure-time SB (LTSB) and leisure-time PA (LTPA) were reported in min/day by parents. In a subgroup (n = 134), overall sedentary time, light PA, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were objectively measured using ActiGraph accelerometry (≥3 days, ≥10 h/day). Environmental correlates were collected using a questionnaire that included home and neighborhood characteristics (e.g., traffic safety, presence of physical activity facilities) and children's behaviors. Potential correlates were identified using linear regression analysis.

Results: Multiple linear regression analysis showed that “having grandparents as primary caregivers” (βs and 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) for overall sedentary time: 29.7 (2.1–57.2); LTSB (ln): 0.19 (0.11–0.28)) and “having a television (for LTSB (ln): 0.13 (0.00–0.25)) or computer (for LTSB (ln): 0.13 (0.03–0.23)) in the child's bedroom” were both associated with higher SB. Furthermore, “having grandparents as primary caregivers” was associated with less MVPA (β (95%CI): −7.6 (−14.1 to −1.2)), and “active commuting to school by walking” correlated with more MVPA (β (95%CI): 9.8 (2.2–17.4)). The path model showed that “more neighborhood PA facilities close to home” was indirectly related to higher LTPA (ln), which was partly mediated by “outdoor play” (path coefficients (95%CI): 0.005 (0.002–0.008)) and “going to these facilities more often” (path coefficients (95%CI): 0.013 (0.008–0.018)). Traffic safety was not a correlate.

Conclusion: Family structure and media exposure in the home maybe important factors in shaping preschoolers’ PA patterns. Built environmental correlates could indirectly influence preschoolers’ LTPA through parental help with engaging in active behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-629
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of sport and health science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2022


  • Active commuting
  • Built environment
  • Family structure
  • Media exposure
  • Traffic safety

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