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Open Access Research article

Association between Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Risk in Chinese Youth Independent of Age and Pubertal Stage

Alice PS Kong12, Kai-Chow Choi3*, Albert MC Li4, Stanley SC Hui5, Michael HM Chan6, YK Wing7, Ronald CW Ma1, Christopher WK Lam6, Joseph TF Lau8, Wing Yee So1, Gary TC Ko1 and Juliana CN Chan12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

3 The Nethersole School of Nursing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

4 Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

5 Department of Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

6 Department of Chemical Pathology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

7 Department of Psychiatry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

8 School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:303  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-303

Published: 3 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Childhood and adolescence are critical periods of habit formation with substantial tracking of lifestyle and cardiovascular risk into adulthood. There are various guidelines on recommended levels of physical activity in youth of school-age. Despite the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in China, there is a paucity of data in this regard in Chinese youth. We examined the association of self-reported level of physical activity and cardiovascular risk in Hong Kong Chinese youth of school-age.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 2007-8 in a school setting with 2119 Hong Kong Chinese youth aged 6-20 years. Physical activity level was assessed using a validated questionnaire, CUHK-PARCY (The Chinese University of Hong Kong: Physical Activity Rating for Children and Youth). A summary risk score comprising of waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose and lipids was constructed to quantify cardiovascular risk.

Results

In this cohort, 21.5% reported high level of physical activity with boys being more active than girls (32.1% versus 14.1%, p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed physical activity level, sex and pubertal stage were independently associated with cardiovascular risk score.

Conclusion

Self-reported level of physical activity is associated with cardiovascular risk factors in Chinese youth after adjusting for sex and pubertal stage.