Awareness of knowledge and practice regarding physical activity: A population-based prospective, observational study among students in Nanjing, China
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Background: Physical activity (PA) promotion has proven effectiveness in preventing childhood obesity. Increasing children’s health knowledge is the most frequently used approach in PA intervention programs targeting childhood obesity prevention. However, little is known about the specific association between the change in a child’s knowledge awareness and their PA practice. Methods: A one-year follow-up study was conducted among primary and junior high school students in Nanjing, China. At baseline students’ knowledge of healthy behavior, and their PA levels, were assessed. Students who were unaware of the association between PA and obesity were followed for one academic year. After nine-months their knowledge and PA levels were re-measured using the same validated questionnaire. Mixed effects regression models were used to estimate the relationship between awareness of knowledge about the link between PA and obesity and PA changes. Results: Of the 1899 students who were unaware of the association between PA and obesity at baseline, 1859 (follow-up rate = 97.9%) were successfully followed-up. After nine months 1318 (70.9%) participants had become aware of PA-obesity association. Compared to their counterparts who remained unaware, students who became aware of the PA-obesity association were more likely to increase both the frequency (odds ratio (OR) = 1.34, 95%CI = 1.09, 1.64) and duration (OR = 1.34, 95%CI = 1.09, 1.65) of PA, after adjusting for potentially confounding variables. Conclusion: Becoming aware of the known link between PA and obesity led to positive behavior modification regarding PA in this cohort of Chinese students. This is of particular importance that knowledge disimination and health education may be a useful approach for population-based physical activity promotion aiming at childhood obesity prevention in China.
© 2017 Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.