Relationships between college students’ sedentary behavior, sleep quality, and body mass index

Wenxi Liu, Qin Yuan, Nan Zeng, Daniel J. McDonough, Kun Tao, Qingwen Peng, Zan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Sedentary behavior (SB), sleep efficiency (SE), sleep duration (SD), and body mass index (BMI) are crucial determinants of an individual's health. However, empirical evidence regarding associations between these factors in young adults living in China remains unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between accelerometer-measured SB, SE, SD, and BMI in Chinese college students.

METHODS: Two-hundred and twenty college students (115 females, Mean age = 20.29 years, SD = 2.37) were recruited from a south-central Chinese university. Participants' SB (daily % time spent in SB), SE (number of minutes of sleep duration/number of minutes in bed), and SD were assessed via wrist-worn ActiGraph GT9X Link accelerometers for one week. Body weight was measured using a digital weight scale, height was measured using a stadiometer, and BMI was calculated as weight (kg)/height (m 2).

RESULTS: Participants' average time spent in SB was 76.52% (SD = 10.03), SE was 84.12% (SD = 4.79), and BMI was 20.67 kg/m 2 (SD = 3.12), respectively. Regression analyses indicated that SB (β = -0.17, p = 0.01) and BMI (β = -0.20, p < 0.01) negatively predicted SE. In addition, BMI negatively predicted SD (β = -0.22, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Prolonged SB (e.g., screen viewing, smartphone use, and computer playing) and higher BMI may link to shorter sleep duration and lower sleep efficiency in Chinese young adults. Future randomized controlled trials are needed to further confirm these findings. Given that increased BMI status and SB may relate to adverse health outcomes, more population-based intervention strategies seeking to lower BMI and reduce SB (e.g., nutrition education and physical activity promotion) are needed in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3946
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Accelerometer
  • Body mass index
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Sleep
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Young Adult
  • Students
  • China
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Sedentary Behavior

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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