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.
Sarah Burkart, Jasmin Roberts, Matthew C. Davidson and Sofiya Alhassan
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.