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Stewart G. Trost, Bronwyn Fees, and David Dzewaltowski

Background:

This study evaluated the effect of a “move and learn” curriculum on physical activity (PA) in 3- to 5-year-olds attending a half-day preschool program.

Methods:

Classrooms were randomized to receive an 8-week move and learn program or complete their usual curriculum. In intervention classes, opportunities for PA were integrated into all aspects of the preschool curriculum, including math, science, language arts, and nutrition education. Changes in PA were measured objectively using accelerometry and direct observation.

Results:

At the completion of the 8-week intervention, children completing the move and learn curriculum exhibited significantly higher levels of classroom moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than children completing their usual curriculum. Significant differences were also noted for classroom VPA over the final 2 weeks.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that integrating movement experiences into an existing early childhood curriculum is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in preschool children.

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Stewart G. Trost, Rebecca Tang, and Paul D. Loprinzi

Background:

This study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a church-based intervention to promote physical activity (PA) in children.

Methods:

The study was conducted in 4 churches located in 2 large metropolitan areas and 2 regional towns in Kansas. Churches in the intervention condition implemented the “Shining Like Stars” physical activity curriculum module during their regularly scheduled Sunday school classes. Churches in the control condition delivered the same content without integrating physical activity into the lessons. In addition to the curriculum, the intervention churches completed a series of weekly family devotional activities designed to promote parental support for PA and increase PA outside of Sunday school.

Results:

Children completing the Shining Like Stars curriculum exhibited significantly greater amounts of MVPA than those in the control condition (20 steps/min vs. 7 steps/min). No intervention effects were observed for PA levels outside of Sunday school or parental support for PA; however, relative to controls, children in the intervention churches did exhibit a significant reduction in screen time.

Conclusion:

The findings confirm that the integration of physical activity into Sunday school is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in young children.

Open access

Stewart G. Trost, Christopher C. Drovandi, and Karin Pfeiffer

Background:

Published energy cost data for children and adolescents are lacking. The purpose of this study was to measure and describe developmental trends in the energy cost of 12 physical activities commonly performed by youth.

Methods:

A mixed age cohort of 209 participants completed 12 standardized activity trials on 4 occasions over a 3-year period (baseline, 12-months, 24-months, and 36-months) while wearing a portable indirect calorimeter. Bayesian hierarchical regression was used to link growth curves from each age cohort into a single curve describing developmental trends in energy cost from age 6 to 18 years.

Results:

For sedentary and light-intensity household chores, YOUTH METs (METy) remained stable or declined with age. In contrast, METy values associated with brisk walking, running, basketball, and dance increased with age.

Conclusions:

The reported energy costs for specific activities will contribute to efforts to update and expand the youth compendium.

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John R. Sirard, Stewart G. Trost, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Marsha Dowda, and Russell R. Pate

Background:

The purposes of this study were 1) to establish accelerometer count cutoffs to categorize activity intensity of 3 to 5-y old-children and 2) to evaluate the accelerometer as a measure of children’s physical activity in preschool settings.

Methods:

While wearing an ActiGraph accelerometer, 16 preschool children performed five, 3-min structured activities. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses identified count cutoffs for four physical activity intensities. In 9 preschools, 281 children wore an ActiGraph during observations performed by three trained observers (interobserver reliability = 0.91 to 0.98).

Results:

Separate count cutoffs for 3, 4, and 5-y olds were established. Sensitivity and specificity for the count cutoffs ranged from 86.7% to 100.0% and 66.7% to 100.0%, respectively. ActiGraph counts/15 s were different among all activities (P < 0.05) except the two sitting activities. Correlations between observed and ActiGraph intensity categorizations at the preschools ranged from 0.46 to 0.70 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

The ActiGraph count cutoffs established and validated in this study can be used to objectively categorize the time that preschool-age children spend in different physical activity intensity levels.

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M. Renée Umstattd Meyer, Stephanie L. Baller, Shawn M. Mitchell, and Stewart G. Trost

Background:

Accelerometers have become one of the most common methods of measuring physical activity (PA). Thus, validity of accelerometer data reduction approaches remains an important research area. Yet, few studies directly compare data reduction approaches and other PA measures in free-living samples.

Objective:

To compare PA estimates provided by 3 accelerometer data reduction approaches, steps, and 2 self-reported estimates: Crouter’s 2-regression model, Crouter’s refined 2-regression model, the weighted cut-point method adopted in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 cycles), steps, IPAQ, and 7-day PA recall.

Methods:

A worksite sample (N = 87) completed online-surveys and wore ActiGraph GT1M accelerometers and pedometers (SW-200) during waking hours for 7 consecutive days. Daily time spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous intensity activity and percentage of participants meeting PA recommendations were calculated and compared.

Results:

Crouter’s 2-regression (161.8 ± 52.3 minutes/day) and refined 2-regression (137.6 ± 40.3 minutes/day) models provided significantly higher estimates of moderate and vigorous PA and proportions of those meeting PA recommendations (91% and 92%, respectively) as compared with the NHANES weighted cut-point method (39.5 ± 20.2 minutes/day, 18%). Differences between other measures were also significant.

Conclusions:

When comparing 3 accelerometer cut-point methods, steps, and self-report measures, estimates of PA participation vary substantially.

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Hayley E. Christian, Leanne Lester, Mohamed K. Al Marzooqi, Stewart G. Trost, and Alana Papageorgiou

Background: Social emotional development is imperative to young children’s long-term psychological and physical health. Physical activity (PA) may be important for young children’s social emotional development. The association between preschooler PA duration and intensity and social emotional development was investigated. Methods: Data from six hundred and fifty-one 2- to 4-year-olds in the Play Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study were analyzed. PA was measured using ActiGraph-GT3X accelerometers worn over 7 days. Social emotional development was measured using the parent-completed Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Multilevel linear regression models examined the association between PA duration and intensity and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire subscales. Results: Preschoolers did 158.2 (SD = 40.2) minutes per day of PA with 27% meeting the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years. There was a 1.74 point decrease in the total Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire score for each additional hour of moderate-intensity PA per day (P < .05). Similar significant associations were found across all domains of social emotional development except hyperactivity, and were consistent across different intensities of light, moderate, and vigorous PA. Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential importance of PA, especially moderate-intensity play-based PA, for different aspects of preschool children’s social emotional development. Longitudinal and intervention research is required to confirm whether promoting PA in the early years provides developmental benefit.

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Meghan M. Senso, Stewart G. Trost, A. Lauren Crain, Elisabeth M. Seburg, Julie D. Anderson, and Nancy E. Sherwood

Background:

Although the prevalence of obesity in young children highlights the importance of early interventions to promote physical activity (PA), there are limited data on activity patterns in this age group. The purpose of this study was to describe activity patterns in preschool-aged children and explore differences by weight status.

Methods:

Analyses use baseline data from Healthy Homes/Healthy Kids–Preschool, a pilot obesity prevention trial of preschool-aged children who are overweight or at risk for being overweight. A modified parent-reported version of the previous-day PA recall was used to summarize types of activity. Accelerometry was used to summarize daily and hourly activity patterns.

Results:

“Playing with toys” accounted for the largest proportion of a child’s previous day, followed by “meals and snacks” and “chores.” Accelerometry-measured daily time spent in sedentary behavior, light PA, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was 412, 247, and 69 minutes, respectively. Percentage of hourly time spent in MVPA ranged from 3% to 13%, peaking in the late morning and evening hours. There were no statistically significant MVPA differences by weight status.

Conclusion:

This study extends our understanding of activity types, amounts, and patterns in preschool-aged children and warrants further exploration of differences in PA patterns by weight status.

Open access

Kimberly A. Clevenger, Aubrey J. Aubrey, Rebecca W. Moore, Karissa L. Peyer, Darijan Suton, Stewart G. Trost, and Karin A. Pfeiffer

Background:

Limited data are available on energy cost of common children’s games using measured oxygen consumption.

Methods:

Children (10.6 ± 2.9 years; N = 37; 26 male, 9 female) performed a selection of structured (bowling, juggling, obstacle course, relays, active kickball) and unstructured (basketball, catch, tennis, clothespin tag, soccer) activities for 5 to 30 minutes. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was calculated using Schofield’s age- and sex-specific equation. Children wore a portable metabolic unit, which measured expired gases to obtain oxygen consumption (VO2), youth METs (relative VO2/child’s calculated RMR), and activity energy expenditure (kcal/kg/min). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data.

Results:

Relative VO2 ranged from 16.8 ± 4.6 ml/kg/min (bowling) to 32.2 ± 6.8 ml/kg/min (obstacle course). Obstacle course, relays, active kickball, soccer, and clothespin tag elicited vigorous intensity (>6 METs), the remainder elicited moderate intensity (3–6 METs).

Conclusions:

This article contributes energy expenditure data for the update and expansion of the youth compendium.

Open access

Nicole K. Nathan, Rachel L. Sutherland, Kirsty Hope, Nicole J. McCarthy, Matthew Pettett, Ben Elton, Rebecca Jackson, Stewart G. Trost, Christophe Lecathelinais, Kathryn Reilly, John H. Wiggers, Alix Hall, Karen Gillham, Vanessa Herrmann, and Luke Wolfenden

Aim: To assess the impact of a multistrategy intervention designed to improve teachers’ implementation of a school physical activity (PA) policy on student PA levels. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 12 elementary schools. Policy implementation required schools to deliver 150 minutes of organized PA for students each week via physical education, sport, or class-based activities such as energizers. Schools received implementation support designed using the theoretical domains framework to help them implement the current policy. Results: A total of 1,502 children in kindergarten to grade 6 participated. At follow-up compared with control, students attending intervention schools had, measured via accelerometer, significantly greater increases in school day counts per minute (97.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 64.5 to 130.4; P < .001) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (3.0; 95% CI, 2.2–3.8, P < .001) and a greater decrease in sedentary time (−2.1; 95% CI, −3.9 to −0.4, P = .02) per school day. Teachers in intervention schools delivered significantly more minutes (36.6 min) of PA to their students at follow-up (95% CI, 2.7–70.5, P = .04). Conclusions: Supporting teachers to implement a PA policy improves student PA. Additional strategies may be needed to support teachers to implement activities that result in larger gains in student MVPA.