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Physical Activity Patterns and Their Correlates among Chinese Men in Shanghai


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 10 - p 1700-1707
doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3181238a52
BASIC SCIENCES: Epidemiology

Introduction: Physical activity (PA) is inversely related to the risk of many chronic diseases. Understanding PA patterns and their correlates thus has significant public health implications.

Methods: We evaluated PA patterns and their association with socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors in the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS), a cohort of 61,582 Chinese men (participation rate: 74.1%) ages 40-74 living in eight communities of urban Shanghai, China. Information on PA from exercise, household chores, and walking and bicycling for transportation and daily living activities was collected by in-person interviews using a validated questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results: Participation in exercise was reported by 35.6% of study participants, walking and cycling for transportation by 22.6% and 23.5%, and walking and cycling for daily living activities by 99.9% and 24.5%. Nine percent had high-PA jobs. All kinds of PA, except household chores, were more common in older men. Education and income levels were positively associated with exercise and housework but inversely associated with transportation and daily living activities. Men with higher BMI participated in more exercise, whereas those with higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were less active in all kinds of PA. Current smokers, particularly heavy smokers, were less active in all kinds of PA compared with former smokers and nonsmokers. Current alcohol drinkers, tea drinkers, and ginseng users were more likely to participate in exercise but less likely to participate in nonexercise PA. Total energy intake was positively associated with PA, except for household chores.

Conclusions: Despite low participation in exercise/sports, most middle-aged and elderly Chinese men in Shanghai participate in a high level of nonexercise PA. Their PA patterns are closely associated with socioeconomic/lifestyle factors.

1Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and 2Department of Epidemiology, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Shanghai, CHINA

Address for correspondence: Xiao Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Sixth Floor, Suite 600, 2525 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203-1738; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2006.

Accepted for publication May 2007.

©2007The American College of Sports Medicine