It has been documented that regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) has substantial benefits for young people’s health while sedentary behavior (SED) has many negative health effects.
However, the prevalence of PA is decreasing and the prevalence of SED is rising globally. PA and SED are influenced by many social and environmental factors, among which socioeconomic status (SES)
plays an important role on them. Findings from previous literatures addressed socioeconomic differences in young people’s PA and SED revealed inconsistent results and little is known concerning
Chinese schoolchildren. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate the socioeconomic differences in PA and SED of Chinese schoolchildren.
The data used in analyses derived from the Physical Activity and Health of Children and Adolescents (PAHCA) Survey 2015 in Shanghai, China. This large scale school survey was conducted with
multi-stage stratified and random cluster sampling method. 711 primary, secondary and upper secondary schools, from all 17 districts of Shanghai metropolitan area were selected. In total, 78516
students, aged 6 to 18 years old (grade 1-12), representing 5% of the population of schoolchildren in Shanghai, participated in the survey. Finally, the present study contains 61429 participants (girl
49.3%, mean age 11.77 years). Descriptive statistics and logistical regression were used to examine the associations between MVPA, SES, and SES (parental educational level) by gender.
Of all participants, only 19.4% students meet the PA guidelines that young people should have at least 1 hour MVPA daily (boy 21.4%, girl 17.4%). Meanwhile, 76.0% young people report at least 2 hours
SED per day during weekday and 88.6% during weekend. Girls have more sedentary time than boys on both weekday and weekend (p < 0.01). Compared to the high SES groups, young people in low SES groups
are more likely to being at least 1 hour MVPA daily for both boys (OR=1.09, 95% CI: 1.02-1.17) and girls (OR=1.18, 95% CI=1.09-1.28). Meanwhile, young people in low SES groups are more likely to being
at least 2 hours SED during weekdays for both boys (OR=1.14, 95% CI: 1.07-1.22) and girls (OR=1.16, 95% CI=1.08-1.24), and during weekends for girls only (OR=1.28, 95% CI: 1.17-1.41).
The present study demonstrated that over three quarters of young people in Shanghai are physical inactive and sedentary. Socioeconomic differences were observed in PA and SED of Chinese
schoolchildren. Specific interventions and policies should be designed and implemented to promote PA and reduce SED for schoolchildren with focus on young people from different SES groups.