Not All Play Equipment Is Created Equal: Associations Between Equipment at Home and Children’s Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Play equipment at home could be targeted in interventions to increase children’s physical activity (PA), but evidence is mixed, potentially because current methods do not reflect children’s lived experience. This study investigated associations between combinations of equipment and PA. Methods: Data were from the Mothers and their Children’s Health study and the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Mothers (n = 2409) indicated the types of fixed active (eg, trampolines), portable active (eg, bicycles), and electronic (eg, computers) equipment at home, and the number of days children (n = 4092, aged 5–12 y, 51% boys) met PA guidelines. Latent class analysis was used to identify combinations of equipment, and linear regressions were used to investigate associations with PA. Results: Compared with children with high active (fixed and portable) and medium electronic equipment, children with portable active and medium (B = −0.53; 95% confidence interval, −0.72 to −0.34) or high (B = −0.58; 95% confidence interval, −0.83 to −0.33) electronic equipment met the guidelines on fewer days. Children with similar active equipment (but more electronic equipment) met the PA guidelines on fewer days (mean difference = −0.51, SE = 0.14, P = .002). Conclusion: Having the right combination of play equipment at home may be important for children’s PA.

Moss, Dobson, Chang, and Mishra are with the Centre for Longitudinal and Life Course Research, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD, Australia. Edwards and Chang are with Orthopaedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom. Hesketh is with the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia.

Moss (katrina.moss@uq.edu.au) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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