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  • Author: Jasmin Roberts x
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Sarah Burkart, Jasmin Roberts, Matthew C. Davidson and Sofiya Alhassan

Background: Poor adaptive learning behaviors (ie, distractibility, inattention, and disruption) are associated with behavior problems and underachievement in school, as well as indicating potential attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Strategies are needed to limit these behaviors. Physical activity (PA) has been suggested to improve behavior in school-aged children, but little is known about this relationship in preschoolers. This study examined the effects of a PA intervention on classroom behaviors in preschool-aged children. Methods:Eight preschool classrooms (n = 71 children; age = 3.8 ± 0.7 y) with children from low socioeconomic environments were randomized to a locomotor-based PA (LB-PA) or unstructured free playtime (UF-PA) group. Both interventions were implemented by classroom teachers and delivered for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week for 6 months. Classroom behavior was measured in both groups at 3 time points, whereas PA was assessed at 2 time points over a 6-month period and analyzed with hierarchical linear modeling. Results:Linear growth models showed significant decreases in hyperactivity (LB-PA: −2.58 points, P = .001; UF-PA: 2.33 points, P = .03), aggression (LB-PA: −2.87 points, P = .01; UF-PA: 0.97 points, P = .38) and inattention (LB-PA: 1.59 points, P < .001; UF-PA: 3.91 points, P < .001). Conclusions: This research provides promising evidence for the efficacy of LB-PA as a strategy to improve classroom behavior in preschoolers.

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Sofiya Alhassan, Ogechi Nwaokelemeh, Manneh Ghazarian, Jasmin Roberts, Albert Mendoza and Sanyog Shitole

This pilot study examined the effects of a teacher-taught, locomotor skill (LMS)- based physical activity (PA) program on the LMS and PA levels of minority preschooler-aged children. Eight low-socioeconomic status preschool classrooms were randomized into LMS-PA (LMS-oriented lesson plans) or control group (supervised free playtime). Interventions were delivered for 30 min/day, five days/week for six months. Changes in PA (accelerometer) and LMS variables were assessed with MANCOVA. LMS-PA group exhibited a significant reduction in during-preschool (F (1,16) = 6.34, p = .02, d = 0.02) and total daily (F (1,16) = 9.78, p = .01, d = 0.30) percent time spent in sedentary activity. LMS-PA group also exhibited significant improvement in leaping skills, F (1, 51) = 7.18, p = .01, d = 0.80). No other, significant changes were observed. The implementation of a teacher-taught, LMS-based PA program could potentially improve LMS and reduce sedentary time of minority preschoolers.