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  • Author: Leigh M. Vanderloo x
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Stephanie Truelove, Leigh M. Vanderloo and Patricia Tucker

Background:

Many young children are not meeting the Canadian physical activity guidelines. In an effort to change this, the term active play has been used to promote increased physical activity levels. Among young children, physical activity is typically achieved in the form of active play behavior. The current study aimed to review and synthesize the literature to identify key concepts used to define and describe active play among young children. A secondary objective was to explore the various methods adopted for measuring active play.

Methods:

A systematic review was conducted by searching seven online databases for English-language, original research or reports, and were eligible for inclusion if they defined or measured active play among young children (ie, 2 to 6 years).

Results:

Nine studies provided a definition or description of active play, six measured active play, and 13 included both outcomes. While variability in active play definitions did exist, common themes included: increased energy exerted, rough and tumble, gross motor movement, unstructured, freely chosen, and fun. Alternatively, many researchers described active play as physical activity (n = 13) and the majority of studies used a questionnaire (n = 16) to assess active play among young children.

Conclusion:

Much variability in the types of active play, methods of assessing active play, and locations where active play can transpire were noted in this review. As such, an accepted and consistent definition is necessary, which we provide herein.

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Leigh M. Vanderloo, Olivia J. M. Martyniuk and Patricia Tucker

Background:

Although preschoolers’ physical activity in center-based childcare has received considerable attention, less is known regarding this group’s activity levels within home-based childcare. This review aimed to explore and synthesize the literature on preschoolers’ physical and sedentary activity levels in home-based childcare. Outdoor playtime was also examined to contribute to the understanding of preschoolers’ activity levels within this particular setting.

Methods:

Nine online databases were searched for peer-reviewed, English-language, primary studies that quantitatively measured physical and sedentary activity levels of preschoolers attending home-based childcare. Studies were excluded if they were nonprimary research, if they lacked a preschool-aged sample, if they did not quantitatively measure physical or sedentary activity, or if they took place in an ineligible environment.

Results:

Seven articles were included in this review; 3 had objective measures of activity levels, and 4 relied on nonobjective measures. Accelerometry data suggest that preschoolers’ average sedentary, moderate-to-vigorous, and total physical activity levels in home-based childcare ranged from 39.5 to 49.6, 1.8 to 9.7, and 10.4 to 33.8 min/hr, respectively. Outdoor playtime appears to be inconsistent in home-based childcare.

Conclusion:

Physical activity among preschoolers attending home-based childcare appears to be relatively low and widely varied. Sedentary time has received less attention in home-based childcare settings. Future research examining activity levels in this unique environment is warranted.

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Leigh M. Vanderloo, Patricia Tucker, Ali Ismail and Melissa M. van Zandvoort

Background:

Preschoolers spend a substantial portion of their day in childcare; therefore, these centers are an ideal venue to encourage healthy active behaviors. It is important that provinces’/territories’ childcare legislation encourage physical activity (PA) opportunities. The purpose of this study was to review Canadian provincial/territorial childcare legislation regarding PA participation. Specifically, this review sought to 1) appraise each provincial/territorial childcare regulation for PA requirements, 2) compare such regulations with the NASPE PA guidelines, and 3) appraise these regulations regarding PA infrastructure.

Methods:

A review of all provincial/territorial childcare legislation was performed. Each document was reviewed separately by 2 researchers, and the PA regulations were coded and summarized. The specific provincial/territorial PA requirements (eg, type/frequency of activity) were compared with the NASPE guidelines.

Results:

PA legislation for Canadian childcare facilities varies greatly. Eight of the thirteen provinces/territories provide PA recommendations; however, none provided specific time requirements for daily PA. All provinces/territories did require access to an outdoor play space.

Conclusion:

All Canadian provinces/territories lack specific PA guidelines for childcare facilities. The development, implementation, and enforcement of national PA legislation for childcare facilities may aid in tackling the childhood obesity epidemic and assist childcare staff in supporting and encouraging PA participation.

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Leigh M. Vanderloo, Natascja A. Di Cristofaro, Nicole A. Proudfoot, Patricia Tucker and Brian W. Timmons

Young children’s activity and sedentary time were simultaneously measured via the Actical method (i.e., Actical accelerometer and specific cut-points) and the ActiGraph method (i.e., ActiGraph accelerometer and specific cut-points) at both 15-s and 60-s epochs to explore possible differences between these 2 measurement approaches. For 7 consecutive days, participants (n = 23) wore both the Actical and ActiGraph side-by-side on an elastic neoprene belt. Device-specific cut-points were applied. Paired sample t tests were conducted to determine the differences in participants’ daily average activity levels and sedentary time (min/h) measured by the 2 devices at 15-s and 60-s time sampling intervals. Bland-Altman plots were used to examine agreement between Actical and ActiGraph accelerometers. Regardless of epoch length, Actical accelerometers reported significantly higher rates of sedentary time (15 s: 42.7 min/h vs 33.5 min/h; 60 s: 39.4 min/h vs 27.1 min/h). ActiGraph accelerometers captured significantly higher rates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (15 s: 9.2 min/h vs 2.6 min/h; 60 s: 8.0 min/h vs 1.27 min/h) and total physical activity (15 s: 31.7 min/h vs 22.3 min/h; 60 s: = 39.4 min/h vs 25.2 min/h) in comparison with Actical accelerometers. These results highlight the present accelerometry-related issues with interpretation of datasets derived from different monitors.

Open access

Joel D. Barnes, Christine Cameron, Valerie Carson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Rachel C. Colley, Guy E.J. Faulkner, Ian Janssen, Roger Kramers, Travis J. Saunders, John C. Spence, Patricia Tucker, Leigh M. Vanderloo and Mark S. Tremblay

Open access

Salomé Aubert, Joel D. Barnes, Megan L. Forse, Evan Turner, Silvia A. González, Jakub Kalinowski, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Eun-Young Lee, Reginald Ocansey, John J. Reilly, Natasha Schranz, Leigh M. Vanderloo and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: In response to growing concerns over high levels of physical inactivity among young people, the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance developed a series of national Report Cards on physical activity for children and youth to advocate for the promotion of physical activity. This article provides updated evidence of the impact of the Report Cards on powering the movement to get children and youth moving globally. Methods: This assessment was performed using quantitative and qualitative sources of information, including surveys, peer-reviewed publications, e-mails, gray literature, and other sources. Results: Although it is still too early to observe a positive change in physical activity levels among children and youth, an impact on raising awareness and capacity building in the national and international scientific community, disseminating information to the general population and stakeholders, and on powering the movement to get kids moving has been observed. Conclusions: It is hoped that the Report Card activities will initiate a measurable shift in the physical activity levels of children and contribute to achieving the 4 strategic objectives of the World Health Organization Global Action Plan as follows: creating an active society, creating active environments, creating active lives, and creating active systems.