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Sarah C. Ball, Matthew W. Gillman, Meghan Mayhew, Rebecca J. Namenek Brouwer and Sara E. Benjamin Neelon

Background:

Young children’s physical activity (PA) is influenced by their child care environment. This study assessed PA practices in centers from Massachusetts (MA) and Rhode Island (RI), compared them to best practice recommendations, and assessed differences between states and center profit status. We also assessed weather-related practices.

Methods:

Sixty percent of MA and 54% of RI directors returned a survey, for a total of 254. Recommendations were 1) daily outdoor play, 2) providing outdoor play area, 3) limiting fixed play structures, 4) variety of portable play equipment, and 5) providing indoor play area. We fit multivariable linear regression models to examine adjusted associations between state, profit status, PA, and weather-related practices.

Results:

MA did not differ from RI in meeting PA recommendations (β = 0.03; 0.15, 0.21; P = .72), but MA centers scored higher on weather-related practices (β = 0.47; 0.16, 0.79; P = .004). For-profit centers had lower PA scores compared with nonprofits (β = −0.20; 95% CI: −0.38, −0.02; P = .03), but they did not differ for weather (β = 0.12; −0.19, 0.44; P = .44).

Conclusions:

More MA centers allowed children outside in light rain or snow. For-profit centers had more equipment—both fixed and portable. Results from this study may help inform interventions to increase PA in children.

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Angie L.I. Cradock, Emily M. O'Donnell, Sara E. Benjamin, Elizabeth Walker and Meghan Slining

Background:

As interventions increasingly emphasize early child care settings, it is necessary to understand the state regulatory context that provides guidelines for outdoor physical activity and safety and sets standards for child care environments.

Methods:

Researchers reviewed regulations for child care facilities for 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. We compared state regulations with national standards for 17 physical activity- and safety-related items for outdoor playground settings outlined in Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs (CFOC). State regulations were coded as fully, partially or not addressing the CFOC standard and state-level summary scores were calculated.

Results:

On average, state regulations fully addressed one-third of 17 CFOC standards in regulations for centers (34%) and family child care homes (27%). Data suggest insufficient attention to outdoor play area proximity and size, equipment height, surfacing, and inspections.

Conclusions:

Considerable variation exists among state regulations related to physical activity promotion and injury prevention within outdoor play areas. Many states' regulations do not comply with published national health and safety standards. Enhancing regulations is one component of a policy approach to promoting safe, physically active child care settings.

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Jane F. Hislop, Cathy Bulley, Tom H. Mercer and John J. Reilly

The objectives of this study were to explore whether triaxial is more accurate than uniaxial accelerometry and whether shorter sampling periods (epochs) are more accurate than longer epochs. Physical activity data from uniaxial and triaxial (RT3) devices were collected in 1-s epochs from 31 preschool children (15 males, 16 females, 4.4 ± 0.8 yrs) who were videoed while they engaged in 1-hr of free-play. Video data were coded using the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS). A significant difference (p < .001) in the number of minutes classified as moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was found between the RT3 and the CARS (p < .002) using the cut point of relaxed walk. No significant difference was found between the GT1M and the CARS or between the RT3 and the CARS using the cut point for light jog. Shorter epochs resulted in significantly greater overestimation of MVPA, with the bias increasing from 0.7 mins at 15-s to 3.2 mins at 60-s epochs for the GT1M and 0 mins to 1.7 mins for the RT3. Results suggest that there was no advantage of a triaxial accelerometer over a uniaxial model. Shorter epochs result in significantly higher number of minutes of MVPA with smaller bias relative to direct observation.

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Trina Hinkley, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon and Kylie Hesketh

Background:

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).

Methods:

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).

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.

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Leen Haerens, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Gabriele Eiben, Fabio Lauria, Silvia Bel, Katharina Keimer, Éva Kovács, Helen Lasn, Susann Regber, Monica Shiakou, Lea Maes and on behalf of the IDEFICS Consortium

Background:

The current study aimed at describing influencing factors for physical activity among young children to determine the best approaches for developing the IDEFICS community based intervention.

Methods:

In 8 European sites a trained moderator conducted a minimum of 4 focus groups using standardized questioning guides. A total of 56 focus groups were conducted including 36 focus groups with parents and 20 focus groups with children, of which 74 were boys and 81 girls. Key findings were identified through independent reviews of focus group summary reports using content analysis methods.

Findings:

Findings were generally consistent across countries. The greatest emphasis was on environmental physical (eg, seasonal influences, availability of facilities and safety), institutional (eg, length of breaks at school), and social factors (eg, role modeling of parents). Most cited personal factors by parents were age, social economical status, and perceived barriers. Both children and parents mentioned the importance of children’s preferences.

Conclusions:

To increase physical activity levels of young children the intervention should aim at creating an environment (physical, institutional, social) supportive of physical activity. On the other hand strategies should take into account personal factors like age and social economical status and should consider personal barriers too.

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Jo E. Cowden and Carol C. Torrey

The ROADMAP (Role of Assessment Directed Movements, Actions, and Patterns) Model is presented, providing a plan of action for the adapted motor developmentalist (AMD) to assess the motor actions of young children. The emerging specialty area of the AMD requires new areas of proficiency, which are described in the ROADMAP Model. The model defines and describes inputs, processes, products, outputs, and outcomes as they relate to the process of assessment. The role of the adapted motor developmentalist as a key member in the inter- or transdisciplinary assessment process is discussed. Additionally, selected motor assessment instruments are suggested for use by the AMD.

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Louise A. Kelly, John J. Reilly, Sheila C. Fairweather, Sarah Barrie, Stanley Grant and James Y Paton

The primary aim of this study was to test the validity of two accelerometers, CSA/MTI WAM-7164 and Actiwatch®, against direct observation of physical activity using the Children’s Physical Activity Form (CPAF). CSA/MTI WAM-7164 and Actiwatch accelerometers simultaneously measured activity during structured-play classes in 3- to 4-year olds. Accelerometry output was synchronized to CPAF assessments of physical activity in 78 children. Rank order correlations between accelerometry and direct observation evaluated the ability of the accelerometers to assess total physical activity. Within-child minute-to-minute correlations were calculated between accelerometry output and direct observation. For total physical activity, CSA/MTI output was significantly correlated with CPAF (r = .72, p < .001), but output from the Actiwatch was not (r = .16, p > .05).