Correlates of Physical Activity in Latino Preschool Children Attending Head Start

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 Seattle Children’s Research Institute
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Physical activity is associated with long-term benefits for health and tracks from early childhood into later adolescence. Limited information exists about factors influencing physical activity among Latino preschoolers. We aimed to identify correlates of objectively measured light-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity as a proportion of wear time (% PA) in Latino 3–5 year olds.


Latino preschoolers (n = 96) were recruited from Head Start centers in Houston, TX, USA, from 2009 to 2010. Sociodemographics, anthropometrics, acculturation, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing were measured. Actigraph GT1M accelerometers measured physical activity. Block linear regression was used with % PA as the dependent variable.


Children achieved 285.7 ± 58.0 min/day of PA. In the final adjusted-model, child age, parental education and neighborhood disorder were positively associated with % PA (beta = 0.33, p = .002; beta = 0.25, p = .038; beta = 0.22, p = .039, respectively). TV viewing was inversely associated with % PA (beta=-0.23, p = .027).


The majority of Latino preschoolers in our study exceeded US national and international guidelines of physical activity duration. Future interventions to sustain physical activity should focus on the influence of age, socioeconomic status, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing on Latino preschoolers’ attainment of physical activity.

The authors are with the Center for Child Health Behavior and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA.

Address author correspondence to Elizabeth E. Dawson-Hahn at