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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.

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Fred Danner, Melody Noland, Molly McFadden, Kathleen DeWalt and J. Morley Kotchen

This study examined the validity of the Caltrac motion sensor for measuring physical activity in young children and described change over time in physical activity among 47 preschool children from obese and nonobese families. Children were videotaped in a controlled setting while wearing Caltrac motion sensors and also wore Caltracs at home. Caltrac readings and an observational measure of physical activity were significantly related in both Year 1 (r= .86) and Year 2 (r= .83), and outside play was associated with higher Caltrac scores (r=.43). In addition, physical activity among young girls with obese parents decreased significantly from Year 1 to Year 2.

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Katherine J. Riggen, Dale A. Ulrich and John C. Ozmun

The reliability and concurrent validity of the Test of Motor Impairment-Henderson Revision was evaluated employing a sample of preschoolers. Absolute reliability of the final test score was established by calculating the standard error of measurement (SEM). An SEM of .86 was obtained. The consistency of decisions related to motor impairment or nonimpairment was estimated by calculating the proportion of agreement index across two testing occasions and Kappa. A 90% agreement was obtained with Kappa equal to .71. Concurrent validity using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form as the criterion resulted in an 88% agreement between the two tests.

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Kenneth J. Killian, Susan Arena-Ronde and Lucille Bruno

The purpose of this study was to examine the usefulness of two instruments designed to assess water orientation, which was defined to include both traditional water adjustment concerns and novel aspects of a swimmer’s adjustment to water. The Water Orientation Checklist–Basic (WOC-B) assessed successful performance using a five-choice rating scale. The Water Orientation Checklist–Advanced (WOC-Adv) assessed successful and unsuccessful performance; unsuccessful responses involved a subject’s failed attempt to perform a task and were thought to be an indicator of motivation. Seventy-one atypical subjects (i.e., individuals who require special swimming instruction) were individually observed; these included autistic children (n = 15), autistic youth (n = 14), functionally retarded children (n = 10), functionally retarded youth (n = 9), functionally retarded preschoolers (n = 13), and nonhandicapped preschoolers (n = 10). The checklists were found to offer good interobserver agreement (WOC-B, 87%; WOC-Adv, 80%) and were found appropriate for assessing water orientation in the six groups observed. Based on the findings of the study, the instruments were thought to be useful assessment devices for instructional and research purposes.

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Glen Nielsen, Anna Bugge, Bianca Hermansen, Jesper Svensson and Lars Bo Andersen

Background:

This study investigates the influence of school playground facilities on children’s daily physical activity.

Methods:

Participants were 594 school children measured at preschool (age 6 to 7 years) and 3 years later in third grade (518 children age 9 to 10 years) from 18 schools in 2 suburban municipalities in Denmark. Physical activity data were obtained using accelerometers. These were related to the number of permanent play facilities in school grounds and the school playground area (m2).

Results:

The number of play facilities in the school grounds was positively associated with all measures of children’s activity. In preschool every 10 additional play facilities the children had access to was associated with an increase in the average accelerometer counts of 14% (r = .273, P < .001) in school time and 6.9% (r = .195, P < .001) overall. For the children in third grade, access to 10 additional play facilities was associated with an increase in school time activity level of 26% (r = .364, P < .001) and an increase in overall activity level of 9.4% (r = .211, P < .001). School playground area did not affect activity levels independently of the number of permanent play facilities.

Conclusion:

Increasing the number of play facilities in primary school playgrounds may increase the level of children’s daily physical activity.

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Temitope Erinosho, Derek Hales, Amber Vaughn, Stephanie Mazzucca and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

This study assessed physical activity and screen time policies in child-care centers and their associations with physical activity and screen time practices and preschool children’s (3–5 years old) physical activity.

Methods:

Data were from 50 child-care centers in North Carolina. Center directors reported on the presence/absence of written policies. Trained research assistants observed physical activity and screen time practices in at least 1 preschool classroom across 3 to 4 days. Children (N = 544) wore accelerometers to provide an objective measure of physical activity.

Results:

Physical activity and screen time policies varied across centers. Observational data showed 82.7 min/d of active play opportunities were provided to children. Screen time provided did not exceed 30 min/d/child at 98% of centers. Accelerometer data showed children spent 38 min/d in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 206 min/d in sedentary activity. Policies about staff supervision of media use were negatively associated with screen time (P < .05). Contrary to expectation, policies about physical activity were associated with less time in physical activity.

Conclusions:

Clear strategies are needed for translating physical activity policies to practice. Further research is needed to evaluate the quality of physical activity policies, their impact on practice, and ease of operationalization.

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In the article by Taverno Ross S, Dowda M, Saunders R, Pate R, “Double dose: The cumulative effect of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children's activity patterns and weight status,” in Pediatr Exerc Sci. 25(2), p. 262–272, the authors incorrectly stated that children in the High TV-Combined group had significantly lower levels of MVPA compared with children in the Low TV-Combined group. However, as shown in Table 3, children in the High TV-Combined group had higher MVPA than the Low TV-Combined group. Given that all other differences between High TV and Low TV groups were not significantly different and the erroneously interpreted difference was marginally significant (p =.047), the authors believe that the proper interpretation of the findings is that TV exposure was not associated with children’s physical activity.

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Judith L. Oslin, Sandra Stroot and Daryl Siedentop

The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a component-specific instruction (CSI) intervention to enhance overarm throw development in preschool children. The study also examined the sequence of components within the intervention, a force production sequence (FPS) versus a forward-chaining sequence (FCS). During daily inspection of the data, investigators noted changes in efficiency levels of nontargeted components. Therefore, a third research question emerged regarding the ancillary effects of CSI on efficiency levels of nontargeted components. For all participants, intervention was required on two or more of the following: step, rotation/backswing, elbow/backswing, forearm/forward, and rotation forward. CSI was found to be effective for improving the efficiency of the targeted component as well as overall throwing efficiency. Ancillary effects occurred repeatedly across nontargeted components during all but one condition of CSI. During follow-up, the degree to which efficiency levels were maintained varied from child to child.

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Jacqueline D. Goodway, Heather Crowe and Phillip Ward

The influence of a 9-week instructional program on locomotor and object control skill development of preschoolers who are at risk of developmental delay was investigated. The motor skill instruction group (n = 33) received 18, 35-min lessons; the comparison group (n = 30) received the regular prekindergarten program. Pre and posttest scores on the locomotor and object control subscales of the Test of Gross Motor Development (Ulrich, 1985) were obtained. A Group by Gender MANOVA with repeated measures yielded a significant Group by Time interaction. The intervention group performed significantly better than the comparison group from pre to posttest for both locomotor and object control skills. Additionally, this group had significantly higher posttest scores than the comparison group.

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In the article Brian, A., Taunton, S., Shortt, C., Pennell, A., & Sacko, R. (2019). Predictors of physical activity for preschool children with and without disabilities from socioeconomically disadvantaged settings. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 36 (1), 77–90, doi: 10.1123/apaq.2017