Research by CPC Fellow Ng shows declining physical activity by Chinese adults

May 3, 2016

Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellow Shu Wen Ng used data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey to assess physical activity levels by Chinese adults over a 20-year period. Her findings showed Chinese adults are becoming less active than Chinese adults 25 years ago. Her study used data from 1991-2011.

UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health posted this story about Ng's research: 20-year observation of adults in China shows physical activity levels in decline

This is an excerpt:

As rapid cultural shifts take place in China, the country's aging population is becoming less likely to engage in physical activity, finds a new study that followed more than 60,000 adults in China across two decades of their lives.

The study did not examine physical activity in isolation, but instead analyzed changing levels of physical activity in the context of the effects of both age and China's modernization.

The research paper, titled "Age, period and cohort effects on adult physical activity levels from 1991 to 2011 in China," was published online April 19 by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Co-author Shu Wen Ng, PhD, is a research associate professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Ng and her co-author used data collected by the China Health and Nutrition Survey over a 20-year period to find trends in physical activity levels among Chinese adults.

"China's rapidly aging population, combined with sweeping economic and environmental changes, make it especially important to understand how demographics relate to physical activity at work and at home," Ng said. "To address the country's shifting economic and environmental factors, our models account for individual, household and community-level measures of education, asset and technology ownership, and urbanization."

Read the full story here.

The study's citation is:

Ng, Shu Wen and Jiajie Zang. 2016. Age, period and cohort effects on adult physical activity levels from 1991 to 2011 in China. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 13:40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-016-0364-z.

The Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health also featured Ng's research.

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