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The aim of this systematic review was to examine the associations between physical activity and sleep in children aged less than 6 years. Articles were included if participants were primarily aged less than 6 years and study designs were observational or experimental. Study characteristics were extracted, and the Grading Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework was used to assess study quality. Thirty-six studies (16 sleep, 16 physical activity, and three fitness outcomes) from 18 countries reported in 29 articles were included. The majority of sleep and physical activity outcome studies reported mixed effects with very low to low quality of evidence. Fitness outcome studies were limited, and therefore, evidence was insufficient. The high prevalence of mixed and null results could be related to study limitations. Importantly, this review points to the critical need for higher quality studies of sleep and physical activity in young children, which would support health recommendations and intervention strategies for healthier child development.
St. Laurent (firstname.lastname@example.org) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1932-3355.
Rodheim is now with the Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.