This study investigated children’s after-school activity and associations with body mass index (BMI) and family circumstance. One thousand two hundred thirty-four parents and 854 children (age 8–13 years) completed activity diaries for the 2 hours after school. Parents reported children as more active than children reported themselves. Boys were reported to be more active than girls. Activity levels were generally not associated with BMI or family circumstance with the exception of cultural background. Parent-reported mean child METs were higher for mothers born in Australia (3.3 vs. 3.0; p = .02). Child-reported mean METs were higher for fathers born in Australia (2.9 vs. 2.6; p = .04) and where English was their main language (2.9 vs. 2.3, p = .003).
Kylie Hesketh, Melissa Graham and Elizabeth Waters
Katherine L. Downing, Trina Hinkley and Kylie D. Hesketh
There is little current understanding of the influences on sedentary behavior and screen time in preschool children. This study investigated socioeconomic position (SEP) and parental rules as potential correlates of preschool children’s sedentary behavior and screen time.
Data from the Healthy Active Preschool Years (HAPPY) Study were used. Participating parents reported their child’s usual weekly screen time and their rules to regulate their child’s screen time. Children wore accelerometers for 8 days to objectively measure sedentary time.
Children whose parents limited television viewing spent significantly less time in that behavior and in total screen time; however, overall sedentary behavior was unaffected. An association between parents limiting computer/electronic game use and time spent on the computer was found for girls only. SEP was inversely associated with girls’, but not boys’, total screen time and television viewing.
As parental rules were generally associated with lower levels of screen time, intervention strategies could potentially encourage parents to set limits on, and switch off, screen devices. Intervention strategies should target preschool children across all SEP areas, as there was no difference by SEP in overall sedentary behavior or screen time for boys.
Trina Hinkley, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon and Kylie Hesketh
Little is known about the associations of preschoolers’ health behaviors with their later psychosocial wellbeing. This study investigates the association of 3- to 5-year-old children’s physical activity and electronic media use with their later social-emotional skills (6-8 years).
Data were collected in 2008–2009 and 2011–2012 for the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) Study in metropolitan Melbourne. Participants were a random subsample (n = 108) of the 567 children at follow-up. Physical activity was objectively measured using ActiGraph GT1M accelerometers; electronic media use (television viewing, sedentary electronic games and active electronic games) was parent proxy-reported. Social and emotional skills were child-reported using the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory—Youth Version. Regression analyses controlled for sex, clustering by center of recruitment, and accelerometer wear time (for physical activity analyses).
Sedentary electronic games were positively associated with intrapersonal and stress management skills and total emotional quotient. Computer/internet use was inversely associated with interpersonal, and positively associated with stress management, skills.
Findings suggest that physical activity is not associated with children’s psychosocial health while some types of electronic media use are. Future research should investigate the contexts in which preschoolers participate in these behaviors and potential causal mechanisms of associations.
Gavin Abbott, Jill Hnatiuk, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon, Keren Best and Kylie D. Hesketh
Parental modeling has been shown to be important for school-aged children’s physical activity (PA) and television (TV) viewing, yet little is known about its impact for younger children. This study examined cross-sectional and 3-year longitudinal associations between PA and TV viewing behaviors of parents and their preschool children.
In 2008–2009 (T1), parents in the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) cohort study (n = 450) in Melbourne, Australia, self-reported their weekly PA and TV viewing and proxy-reported their partner’s PA and TV viewing and their 3- to 5-year-old preschool child’s TV viewing. Children’s PA was assessed via accelerometers. Repeat data collection occurred in 2011–2012 (T2).
Mothers’ and fathers’ PAs were associated with PA among preschool girls at T1, but not boys. Parents’ TV viewing times were significant correlates of girls’ and boys’ TV viewing at T1. Longitudinally, mothers’ PA at baseline predicted boys’ PA at T2, whereas sex-specific associations were found for TV viewing, with mothers’ and fathers’ TV viewing at T1 associated with girls’ and boys’ TV viewing respectively at T2.
The PA and TV viewing of both parents are significantly associated with these behaviors in preschool children. The influence of the sex-matched parent appears to be important longitudinally for children’s TV viewing.
Rachel A. Jones, Annaleise Riethmuller, Kylie Hesketh, Jillian Trezise, Marijka Batterham and Anthony D. Okely
The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential efficacy of a physical activity program for preschool children. A 20-week, 2-arm parallel cluster randomized controlled pilot trial was conducted. The intervention comprised structured activities for children and professional development for staff. The control group participated in usual care activities, which included designated inside and outside playtime. Primary outcomes were movement skill development and objectively measured physical activity. At follow-up, compared with children in the control group, children in the intervention group showed greater improvements in movement skill proficiency, with this improvement statically significant for overall movement skill development (adjust diff. = 2.08, 95% CI 0.76, 3.40; Cohen’s d = 0.47) and significantly greater increases in objectively measured physical activity (counts per minute) during the preschool day (adjust diff. = 110.5, 95% CI 33.6, 187.3; Cohen’s d = 0.46). This study demonstrates that a physical activity program implemented by staff within a preschool setting is feasible, acceptable and potentially efficacious.
Ellen De Decker, Kylie Hesketh, Marieke De Craemer, Trina Hinkley, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Jo Salmon and Greet Cardon
Television viewing is highly prevalent in preschoolers (3–5 years). Because of the adverse health outcomes related to this behavior, it is important to investigate associations and mediators of young children’s television viewing time. This study investigated whether parental rules regarding television viewing time and parental concerns about screen viewing activities mediated the association between parents’ and preschoolers’ television viewing time.
Mediation analyses were performed with the product-of-coefficient test on data derived from the Australian HAPPY study (n = 947) and the Belgian sample of the ToyBox-study (n = 1527). Parents reported their own and their child’s television viewing time, their rules regarding television viewing and concerns about their child’s screen viewing activities.
Parents’ television viewing time was directly associated with preschoolers’ television viewing time and parental rule for television viewing time mediated this association in both samples (14.4% and 8.1% in the Australian and Belgian samples, respectively).
This study is unique in examining the mediating pathway of parental television viewing and a rule limiting TV viewing time and whether this is consistent in different samples. Due to the consistent importance, both parents’ television viewing time and rules should be targeted in interventions to decrease preschoolers’ television viewing time.
Katherine L. Downing, Jo Salmon, Anna Timperio, Trina Hinkley, Dylan P. Cliff, Anthony D. Okely and Kylie D. Hesketh
Background: Although there is increasing evidence regarding children’s screen time, little is known about children’s sitting. This study aimed to determine the correlates of screen time and sitting in 6- to 8-year-old children. Methods: In 2011–2012, parents in the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) study (n = 498) reported their child’s week/weekend day recreational screen time and potential correlates. ActivPALs™ measured children’s nonschool sitting. In model 1, linear regression analyses were performed, stratified by sex and week/weekend day and controlling for age, clustered recruitment, and activPAL™ wear time (for sitting analyses). Correlates significantly associated with screen time or sitting (P < .05) were included in model 2. Results: Children (age 7.6 y) spent 99.6 and 119.3 minutes per day on week and weekend days engaging in screen time and sat for 119.3 and 374.6 minutes per day on week and weekend days, respectively. There were no common correlates for the 2 behaviors. Correlates largely differed by sex and week/weekend day. Modifiable correlates of screen time included television in the child’s bedroom and parental logistic support for, encouragement of, and coparticipation in screen time. Modifiable correlates of sitting included encouragement of and coparticipation in physical activity and provision of toys/equipment for physical activity. Conclusions: Interventions may benefit from including a range of strategies to ensure that all identified correlates are targeted.
Stephen Hunter, Andrei Rosu, Kylie D. Hesketh, Ryan E. Rhodes, Christina M. Rinaldi, Wendy Rodgers, John C. Spence and Valerie Carson
Purpose: Examine objectively measured environmental correlates of physical activity and sedentary behavior in toddlers (12–35 mo). Methods: Participants were recruited at immunization appointments in Edmonton, Canada. Physical activity and sedentary time were objectively measured via accelerometers (n = 149). The parents reported screen time and demographic characteristics via a questionnaire (n = 249). Postal codes were used to link neighborhood data via geographic information systems. Neighborhood data included 4 environmental domains: functional (ie, walkability), safety (ie, crime), esthetic (ie, tree density), and destination (ie, cul-de-sac density, wooded area percentage, green space percentage, recreation density, park density). Weather data (temperature and precipitation) were obtained via historical weather records. Multilevel multiple linear regression models were used to account for clustering of participants within neighborhoods and adjustment of demographic variables. Results: Each additional 10°C of mean temperature was significantly associated with 5.74 (95% confidence interval, 0.96–10.50) minutes per day of higher light-intensity physical activity, though the effect size was small (f 2 = 0.08). No other significant associations were observed. Conclusions: The lack of significant findings for neighborhood environment factors suggests proximal factors (eg, features of the home environment) may be more important in predicting toddlers’ physical activity and sedentary behavior. More indoor physical activity opportunities may be needed on colder days for toddlers.
Natasha K. Schranz, Timothy Olds, Roslyn Boyd, John Evans, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, David R. Lubans, Nicola D. Ridgers, Leon Straker, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani and Grant R. Tomkinson
Two years on from the inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Physical Activity Report Card, there has been little to no change with the majority of Australian children still insufficiently active.
The 2016 AHKA Report Card was developed using the best available national- and state-based physical activity data, which were evaluated by the AHKA Research Working Group using predetermined weighting criteria and benchmarks to assign letter grades to the 12 Report Card indicators.
In comparison with 2014, Overall Physical Activity Levels was again assigned a D- with Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation increasing to a B (was B-) and Active Transport declining to a C- (was C). The settings and sources of influence again performed well (A- to a C+), however Government Strategies and Investments saw a decline (C+ to a D). The traits associated with physical activity were also graded poorly (C- to a D).
Australian youth are insufficiently active and engage in high levels of screen-based sedentary behaviors. While a range of support structures exist, Australia lacks an overarching National Physical Activity Plan that would unify the country and encourage the cultural shift needed to face the inactivity crisis head on.