Time use clusters in children and their associations with sociodemographic factors

Yajun Wendy Huang, Hong Kong Baptist University
Stephen H. Wong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Background Understanding patterns of time use of children is helpful in developing target-tailored intervention. The purpose of this study was to investigate the clustering of sedentary behaviours and physical activity in Chinese children and to examine the associations between sociodemographic factors and the time use clusters. Methods Cluster analysis was conducted among 1013 Chinese children aged 9–13 years (49.5% boys) recruited in a cross-sectional survey study. Physical activity and sedentary behaviours were assessed using a validated questionnaire. Differences in sociodemographic variables were compared across the clusters. Results Five clusters were identified for boys and girls, respectively. For boys, the five clusters were labelled ‘Actives’ (9.1%), ‘Inactives’ (59.4%), ‘Sedentary homeworkers’ (4.7%), ‘Sedentary TV viewers’ (16.6%) and ‘Sedentary games players’ (10.2%). For girls, they were labelled ‘Actives’ (11.9%), ‘Uninvolved inactives’ (39.6%), ‘Sedentary homeworkers’ (11.3%), ‘Sedentary TV viewers’ (8.5%) and ‘Sedentary Games players’ (28.8%). Only parental education was found to differ across the five clusters in boys. Conclusions The findings demonstrated that sedentariness in youth is multidimensional, and it could not be accurately represented by singular behaviour. There is a potential need when designing specific interventions to reduce a group of sedentary behaviours to tailor these interventions for specific clusters.