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  • Author: Christine W. St. Laurent x
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Christine W. St. Laurent, Brittany Masteller and John Sirard

Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the efficacy of a suspension-training movement program to improve muscular- and skill-related fitness and functional movement in children, compared with controls. Methods: In total, 28 children [male: 46%; age: 9.3 (1.5) y; body mass index percentile: 68.6 (27.5)] were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 17) or control (n = 11) groups. The intervention group participated in a 6-week suspension-training movement program for two 1-hour sessions per week. Muscular- and skill-related fitness and functional movement assessments were measured at baseline and following the intervention. Analyses of covariance models were used to assess the effects of time and intervention. Results: The intervention participants achieved greater improvements in Modified Pull-Up performance (P = .01, Cohen’s d = 0.54) and Functional Movement Screen score (P < .001, Cohen’s d = 1.89), relative to controls. Conclusion: The suspension-training intervention delivered twice a week was beneficial for upper body pulling muscular endurance and the Functional Movement Screen score. Future interventions using this modality in youth would benefit from larger, more diverse samples (through schools or community fitness centers) and a longer intervention length.

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Sofiya Alhassan, Christine W. St. Laurent and Sarah Burkart

The purpose of this review was to assess the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) interventions in African American and Latino/Hispanic preschool children. A systematic search was conducted for English-language printed research articles published between January 1980 and December 2017. The inclusion criteria for studies in this review were that they were experimental PA studies conducted in the preschool setting in the United States that targeted African American/Black or Latino/Hispanic children between the ages of 2.9 and 5 years. A total of 1,533 articles were located, of which 10 met the inclusion criteria. Overall, studies reported positive changes in preschool-day PA levels, yet only 2 reported significant improvements in total daily PA. Limited scientific literature suggests that preschool-based interventions are effective in improving aspects of PA during the preschool day for children of color. However, minimal evidence exists on the effectiveness of these interventions in changing total daily PA.

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Sofiya Alhassan, Christine W. St. Laurent, Sarah Burkart, Cory J. Greever and Matthew N. Ahmadi

Background: For a health behavior intervention to be sustainable within preschool centers, the intervention should be implemented by classroom teachers. Unfortunately, teachers are constrained by demands such as meeting early childhood education standards. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of integrating a health behavior intervention into early education learning standards on physical activity (PA), diet, and sleep (PADS) behavior of preschoolers. Methods: Two preschool centers were randomized to either the PADS (children, n = 60) or the control (CON; children, n = 54) group. The PADS intervention consisted of PADS lesson plans and activities embedded into Massachusetts early learning standards and were implemented for 4 days per week for 12 weeks. The CON preschool participated in their usual curriculum. PA was assessed using accelerometers for 7 consecutive days at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. Other outcome variables were assessed with parental surveys at baseline and 12 weeks. Results: Significant group by time interactions were observed for moderate to vigorous PA (percentage of time) during the preschool day (PADS: baseline = 10.6% (4.2%), 12 wk = 13.2% (2.3%); CON: baseline = 12.4% (3.9%), 12 wk = 11.2% (3.6%); P = .02). Conclusion: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence that integrating health behaviors into learning standards is feasible and potentially an effective way for increasing preschoolers’ PA levels.