Determinants of student’s physical activity: a 12-month follow-up study in Ningxia province

Wei Huang, Xiangrong Shi, Yujie Wang, Xiaoling Li, Pengpeng Gao, Jieguo Lu, Jie Zhuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Physical activity has many health benefits for children and adolescents. However, the prevalence of physical inactivity in school-aged children and adolescents remains high in China. Many factors impact the levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among students. This study investigated the factors associated with students’ MVPA levels and the determinants of changes in their MVPA behaviour. Methods: This is a longitudinal study with a 12-month follow-up. The study samples were obtained from 2016 and 2017 Physical Activity and Fitness in China—The Youth Study, and they included 1597 students (aged 9–18 years) from 31 primary, junior high, and high schools in Ningxia Province. Factors related to the individual (Age, Sex, BMI and attitude to PA), school (school exercise facility, PE class, teacher support, PA time and PA environment) and neighbourhood (free skill training, sport events, sport organization, sport facility) factors were measured via questionnaire at baseline and after 12 months. Multiple logistic regression was performed to examine the factors that impact students’ MVPA level and the determinants of changes in students’ MVPA behaviour. Results: There was no difference in students’ MVPA levels between 2016 and 2017. Boys were more physically active than girls at baseline (RR 1.55, 95% CI 1.10, 2.20). Neighbourhood factors associated students’ MVPA levels were significant, but all of these factors (neighbourhood sport events, organizations, facilities, etc.) were removed from the longitudinal model. Individual and school factors were important for students’ MVPA maintenance and positive development (e.g., gender, attitude, school PE class and PA time). Conclusions: In conclusion, both neighbourhood and school factors may affect students’ MVPA, but school appears to plays a more critical role in maintaining and promoting students’ MVPA levels. In addition, individual factors may be more important than school and neighbourhood factors in influencing students’ MVPA levels. Our research demonstrates that students’ attitudes towards PA and school factors should be considered targets for future intervention programmes to promote MVPA. More education programmes may help enhance students’ attitudes towards PA, but more studies with large samples and objective assessments are needed to explore the determinants of MVPA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number512
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Children
  • Neighbourhood environment
  • Physical activity
  • School environment


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