Association between the 24-hour movement guidelines and executive function among Chinese children

Xia Zeng, Li Cai, Wenhan Yang, Weiqing Tan, Wendy Huang, Yajun Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Childhood is a critical period for brain development. However, it remains unknown whether the behaviors in a typical 24-h day are related to children's executive function (EF). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the 24-h movement guidelines and children's EF.

Method: Children aged 7–12 years (n = 376) were studied in 2017 in China. Physical activity (PA) was accelerometer-derived, while screen time (ST) and sleep duration were self-reported. Meeting the 24-h movement guidelines was defined as: 1) ≥ 60 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous PA; 2) ≤ 2 h/day of recreational ST; 3) 9–11 h/night of sleep. EF was assessed by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Number of completed categories (CC), shifting efficiency (SE), non-perseverative errors (NPE), and failure to maintain set (FMS) were used to measure four processes of EF, respectively represented global performance, cognitive flexibility, efficiency in rule discovery, and sustained attention. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) were completed to explore the associations of meeting the PA, ST, and sleep duration recommendations with four processes of EF.

Results: Statistically significant positive associations were observed between the number of guidelines met, regarded as a continuous variable, with CC [β = 0.343 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.125, 0.561)] and SE [β = 4.028 (95% CI: 0.328, 7.727)], while number of guidelines met negatively related to NPE [β =  − 4.377 (95% CI:-7.952,-0.802)]. Participants not meeting the two recommendations for PA and sleep duration had lower scores in CC [β = -0.636(95% CI:-1.125,-0.147)] and SE [β = -10.610 (95% CI:-18.794,-2.425)] compared with those meeting the two, suggesting inferior global performance and worse efficiency in rule discovery. However, ST recommendation had no significant association with any processes of EF.

Conclusion: Meeting more recommendations of the 24-h movement guidelines was associated with superior EF in children. Specifically, more PA and healthy sleep duration should be encouraged to promote children's EF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1017
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Children
  • Executive function
  • The 24-h movement guidelines


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between the 24-hour movement guidelines and executive function among Chinese children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this