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Prevalence and Health Associations of Meeting the World Health Organization Guidelines for Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Sleep in Preschool-Aged Children: The SUNRISE Mongolia Pilot and Feasibility Study

Ankhmaa Byambaa, Oyundelger Dechinjamts, Bayasgalan Jambaldorj, Rachel A. Jones, Kar Hau Chong, and Anthony D. Okely

Background: There is a lack of evidence regarding 24-hour movement behaviors of young children from low- and middle-income countries. This study examined Mongolian preschoolers’ adherence to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep; their associations with health indicators, and the feasibility of the SUNRISE International study in Mongolia. Methods: Preschool-aged children were recruited from 5 kindergartens in urban and rural areas of Ulaanbaatar city and Tuv province in Mongolia. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured by an ActiGraph accelerometer worn for 5 consecutive days. Screen time and sleep were reported by parents. The National Institute of Health and Early Years Toolboxes were used to assess motor skills and executive function, respectively. Results: One hundred and one children participated in the study (mean age = 4.82 y, boys = 58), with 88% (n = 89) having complete data for analysis. The proportion of children who met the recommendations for physical activity, sedentary screen time, and sleep was 61%, 23%, and 82%, respectively. Only 7% met all recommendations. Meeting the sleep recommendation individually (P = .032) and in combination with the physical activity recommendation was associated with better gross (P = .019) and fine (P = .042) motor skills. Spending more time in physical activity was positively correlated with motor development. Results confirmed that the SUNRISE study protocol was feasible, age-appropriate, and enjoyable for children. Conclusions: The results of the SUNRISE pilot study will help inform the SUNRISE Mongolia main study and lay the groundwork for future research into children’s 24-hour movement behaviors in Mongolia.

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Promoting Physical Activity and Executive Functions Among Children: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial of an After-School Program in Australia

Sanne L.C. Veldman, Rachel A. Jones, Rebecca M. Stanley, Dylan P. Cliff, Stewart A. Vella, Steven J. Howard, Anne-Maree Parrish, and Anthony D. Okely

Background: The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of an embedded after-school intervention, on promoting physical activity and academic achievement in primary-school-aged children. Methods: This 6-month, 2-arm cluster randomized controlled trial involved 4 after-school centers. Two centers were randomly assigned to the intervention, which involved training the center staff on and implementing structured physical activity (team sports and physical activity sessions for 75 min) and academic enrichment activities (45 min). The activities were implemented 3 afternoons per week for 2.5 hours. The control centers continued their usual after-school care practice. After-school physical activity (accelerometry) and executive functions (working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility) were assessed pre- and postintervention. Results: A total of 60 children were assessed (7.7 [1.8] y; 50% girls) preintervention and postintervention (77% retention rate). Children in the intervention centers spent significantly more time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (adjusted difference = 2.4%; 95% confidence interval, 0.6 to 4.2; P = .026) and scored higher on cognitive flexibility (adjusted difference = 1.9 units; 95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 3.0; P = .009). About 92% of the intervention sessions were implemented. The participation rates varied between 51% and 94%. Conclusion: This after-school intervention was successful at increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity and enhancing cognitive flexibility in children. As the intervention was implemented by the center staff and local university students, further testing for effectiveness and scalability in a larger trial is required.