Association between leisure time physical activity preference and behavior: evidence from the China Health & Nutrition Survey, 2004-2011

Junmin Zhou, Denise H. Britigan, Shireen S. Rajaram, Hongmei Wang, Dejun Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have suggested that food preference is a good indicator of actual food intake and that sedentary activity preference is a significant predictor of lower physical activity level. But no studies have examined the direct relationship between leisure time physical activity (LTPA) preferences and actual LTPA behavior, especially studies using longitudinal data. This study seeks to determine the association between these two variables, and to assess whether the association differs between urban and rural areas in China. Methods: A total of 2427 Chinese adults were included in the analysis. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to test the association between leisure time physical activity preference and behavior, followed by multiple logistic regressions to further examine the association after adjusting for possible confounding variables. Urban-rural differences in the association were investigated through stratified analysis. Results: In the sample, 63.0% were from urban areas, 47.4% were men, and the mean age was 40. Adjusted estimates based on logistic regression show that LTPA preference was a significant predictor of actual LTPA behavior (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.01-1.09). The correlation was found to be significant among urban residents (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01-1.10), but not in rural residents. Conclusions: The study illustrates the predictive value of LTPA preference for actual LTPA behavior. Changing LTPA preference to promote LTPA may be helpful in preventing and controlling chronic disease in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number451
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 16 2017


  • China
  • China Health & Nutrition Survey
  • Leisure time physical activity
  • Preference and behavior
  • Urban and rural disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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