Association between air pollution and 24-h movement behaviours in a representative sample of Spanish youth

Environ Res. 2022 Nov;214(Pt 3):113996. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113996. Epub 2022 Aug 1.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between air pollution and 24-h movement guidelines in Spanish children/adolescents.

Methods: This cross-sectional study analysed secondary data from the Encuesta Nacional de Salud Española (2017), a representative survey for the Spanish population. The original dataset included 6016 Spanish young people (aged 0-14 years). Since the data on 24-h movement recommendations were limited to Spanish young people aged 2-14 years, the final sample included 4398 (49.2% girls) Spanish young people. Air pollution was evaluated by particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) from different Spanish regions and divided into tertiles representing areas with low, medium, and high pollution. Sleep duration and recreational screen time and were reported by the parents/caregivers. Physical activity was evaluated by an adapted version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Time spent in screen time, sleep, and physical activity were classified as meeting or not the 24-h movement guidelines.

Results: After adjusting for several covariates (sex, age, immigrant status, region, socioeconomic status, and body mass index), lower odds of meeting with the 24-h movement recommendations were found in those living in areas with medium (odds ratio [OR] = 0.55; confident interval [CI] 95%, 0.46-0.67) or high air pollution (OR = 0.45; CI 95%, 0.36-0.55), compared with those living in areas with low air pollution.

Conclusions: The movement behaviour of young people seems to be associated with the presence of air pollution among Spanish youth. Spanish public health agencies could consider the development of strategies to mitigate the health risks for children/adolescents in high air polluted areas.

Keywords: Adolescents; Children; Physical activity; Screen time; Sedentary behaviour; Sleep duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Screen Time
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sleep