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Jason N. Bocarro, Myron Floyd, Robin Moore, Perver Baran, Tom Danninger, William Smith and Nilda Cosco

Background:

To better measure physical activity (PA) in outdoor environments, McKenzie and colleagues developed the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC). However, previous SOPARC research has focused on adults, seniors, teens and children. One avenue for extending this work is to expand the child age group code to capture important nuances that can influence children's PA and their environments. This study reports on the reliability of a measure designed to account for PA in parks among children in different childhood age groups.

Methods:

Three groups were developed: 0 to 5 years old (Young Children); 6 to 12 (Middle Childhood) and 13 to 18 (Older Children) based on Erikson's stages of child development. Data were obtained by direct observation in 3 neighborhood parks in Raleigh, NC and 20 neighborhood parks in Durham, NC.

Results:

Kappa coefficients showed high agreement for all age group, gender, and PA codes. For the 3 assessments, the results show that the 3 age group category exhibit acceptable reliability for measuring PA in parks among children.

Conclusions:

The reliability of measuring PA among children by segmenting children by 3 age groups was established. This approach is recommended for future studies of PA among children in parks and other outdoor environments.

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Anders Raustorp, Peter Pagels, Cecilia Boldemann, Nilda Cosco, Margareta Söderström and Fredrika Mårtensson

Background:

It is important to understand the correlates of physical activity (PA) to influence policy and create environments that promote PA among preschool children. We compared preschoolers’ PA in Swedish and in US settings and objectively examined differences boys’ and girls’ indoor and outdoor PA regarding different intensity levels and sedentary behavior.

Methods:

Accelerometer determined PA in 50 children with mean age 52 months, (range 40–67) was recorded during preschool time for 5 consecutive weekdays at 4 sites. The children wore an Actigraph GTIM Monitor.

Results:

Raleigh preschool children, opposite to Malmö preschoolers spent significantly more time indoors than outdoors (P < .001). Significantly more moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was observed outdoors (P < .001) in both settings. Malmö children accumulated significantly more counts/min indoors (P < .001). The percent of MVPA during outdoor time did not differ between children at Raleigh and Malmö.

Conclusion:

Physical activity counts/minutes was significantly higher outdoors vs. indoors in both Malmö and Raleigh. Malmö preschoolers spent 47% of attendance time outdoors compared with 18% for Raleigh preschoolers which could have influenced the difference in preschool activity between the 2 countries. Time spent in MVPA at preschool was very limited and predominantly adopted outdoors.