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Prevalence of exercise and non-exercise physical activity in Chinese adolescents

Kwok-Kei Mak1, Sai-Yin Ho1*, Wing-Sze Lo1, Alison M McManus2 and Tai-Hing Lam1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

2 Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong 7 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:3  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-3

Published: 20 January 2011


Non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) is an important part of energy expenditure. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of exercise and NEPA among adolescents. In the HKSOS project 2006-2007, the proportions of Hong Kong Chinese adolescents (N = 32,005) achieving 60-minute exercise and 60-minute NEPA per day were analyzed. Exercise was defined as structured and planned physical activities, and NEPA was defined as unstructured and unplanned physical activities including walking for transportation and climbing stairs. The prevalence of exercise was higher in boys than girls (after school: 63.8% vs 39.6%; holidays: 78.7% vs 60.0%), but the prevalence of NEPA in boys was similar to that in girls (after school: 72.2% vs 68.0%; holidays: 80.3% vs 79.4%). In general, the prevalence of both exercise and NEPA decreased with age in boys and girls, but was more marked for exercise than NEPA. In conclusion, the prevalence of exercise was lower in adolescent girls than boys, and decreased more rapidly with age than NEPA. NEPA seems to be easier to accumulate than exercise among adolescents regardless of sex and age.