Three-Year Follow-Up of an Early Childhood Intervention: What About Physical Activity and Weight Status?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Fundamental movement skills are a correlate of physical activity and weight status. Children who participated in a preschool intervention had greater movement skill proficiency and improved anthropometric measures (waist circumference and BMI z scores) post intervention. Three years later, intervention girls had retained their object control skill advantage. The study purpose was to assess whether at 3-year follow up a) intervention children were more physically active than controls and b) the intervention effect on anthropometrics was still present.

Methods:

Children were assessed at ages 4, 5, and 8 years for anthropometric measures and locomotor and object control proficiency (Test of Gross Motor Development-2). At age 8, children were also assessed for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (using accelerometry). Several general linear models were run, the first with MVPA as the outcome, intervention/control, anthropometrics, object control and locomotor scores as predictors, and age and sex as covariates. The second and third models were similar, except baseline to follow-up anthropometric differences were the outcome.

Results:

Overall follow-up rate was 29% (163/560), with 111 children having complete data. There were no intervention control differences in either MVPA or anthropometrics.

Conclusion:

Increased skill competence did not translate to increased physical activity.

Barnett (lisa.barnett@deakin.edu.au) is with the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Faculty of Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Zask, Rose, Hughes, and Adams are with the Health Promotion Unit, Northern New South Wales Local Health District, Lismore, NSW, Australia. Zask is also with the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Lismore, NSW, Australia.