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Christina Duff, Johann Issartel, Wesley O’ Brien and Sarahjane Belton

, as almost all investigations into childhood PA in Ireland have focused on children from the age of seven years old. Although, as yet, no specific PA guidelines exist for early childhood in Ireland, other countries have set specific evidence-based PA guidelines for babies, toddlers and preschool. In

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Kara K. Palmer, Matthew W. Miller and Leah E. Robinson

A growing body of research has illuminated beneficial effects of a single bout of physical activity (i.e., acute exercise) on cognitive function in school-age children. However, the influence of acute exercise on preschoolers’ cognitive function has not been reported. To address this shortcoming, the current study examined the effects of a 30-min bout of exercise on preschoolers’ cognitive function. Preschoolers’ cognitive function was assessed following a single bout of exercise and a single sedentary period. Results revealed that, after engaging in a bout of exercise, preschoolers exhibited markedly better ability to sustain attention, relative to after being sedentary (p = .006, partial eta square = .400). Based on these findings, providing exercise opportunities appears to enhance preschoolers’ cognitive function.

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Bo Shen, Gwen Alexander, Sharon Milberger and Kai-Lin C. Jen

Background:

While there is an emerging body of literature showing variations in physical activity between seasons, further investigation is needed to better understand this association in preschool-age children. This study was designed to examine seasonal variation from fall to winter in physical activity among preschoolers.

Methods:

Forty-six preschool children from 2 preschools in a large Midwestern Metropolitan area completed weekly habitual physical activity measures in both fall and following winter. The habitual physical activity was quantified with the GT1M Actigraph uniaxial accelerometer. To determine seasonal differences in physical activity, a series of paired sample t tests were conducted.

Results:

Although overall physical activity level declined in winter, the magnitude of seasonality effects seem varied in terms of contexts. Compared with the decline during after-school time and during weekends, the differences in physical activity across the 2 seasons were much less evident during the time attending preschool and during weekdays.

Conclusion:

Seasonality in physical activity can be moderated by other contextual factors, such as preschool policies and curriculum. Preschools may serve as a major battlefield for fighting against physical inactivity and obesity during childhood due to their practical controllability.

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Jerraco L. Johnson, Mary E. Rudisill, Peter A. Hastie and Julia Sassi

different aspects of throwing competence of preschool-age children. One feature of throwing research is that a number of authors have assessed both product and process outcomes as dependent measures. Product measurements are concerned with the end result or the movement outcome (i.e., speed), while process

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Susana Vale, Rute Santos, Pedro Silva, Luísa Soares-Miranda and Jorge Mota

The purpose of this study was twofold: first to document the gender differences in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) according to two epoch systems (5 vs. 60 s) in preschoolers, and, second to document the differences in physical activity (PA) patterns according to two different epoch choices. The sample comprised 59 preschoolers (31 girls) aged 2–5 years old. PA was assessed by accelerometer during school hours. The time spent in MVPA was significantly higher (p < .001) when a 5-s epoch was considered compared to the 60-s epoch, regardless gender. Further, it was found a difference of ?17 min difference between the 2 epoch systems for MVPA. Different epoch times might affect the time spent in MVPA among preschool children.

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Karin A. Pfeiffer, Marsha Dowda, Kerry L. McIver and Russell R. Pate

This study examined correlates of objectively measured physical activity (PA) in a diverse sample of preschool children (age 3–5 years; n = 331). Accelerometer min·hr−1 of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and nonsedentary activity (NSA) were the outcome measures. Correlations among potential correlates and PA ranged from r = −0.12−0.26. Correlates in the final MVPA model were age, race, sex, BMI Z score, and parent perception of athletic competence, explaining 37% of the variance. The NSA model included the latter two variables, explaining 35% of the variance. Demographic factors were correlates of PA; parent perceptions of children’s competence may be important regarding preschoolers’ PA.

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Carol Mardell-Czudnowski and Dorothea S. Goldenberg

Recent research and legislation in the United States regarding assessment of preschool children have guided the development of the latest version of the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning, DIAL-3. This paper briefly describes the history of this test’s previous two versions (DIAL, 1975 and DIAL-R, 1983, 1990) followed by a description of the research and development of the motor items in DIAL-3. Then DIAL-3 is evaluated, using the key features for selecting an appropriate preschool gross motor assessment instrument (Zittel, 1994). DIAL-3 meets all of the common criteria for a technically adequate screening test.

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Meghan M. Senso, Stewart G. Trost, A. Lauren Crain, Elisabeth M. Seburg, Julie D. Anderson and Nancy E. Sherwood

Background:

Although the prevalence of obesity in young children highlights the importance of early interventions to promote physical activity (PA), there are limited data on activity patterns in this age group. The purpose of this study was to describe activity patterns in preschool-aged children and explore differences by weight status.

Methods:

Analyses use baseline data from Healthy Homes/Healthy Kids–Preschool, a pilot obesity prevention trial of preschool-aged children who are overweight or at risk for being overweight. A modified parent-reported version of the previous-day PA recall was used to summarize types of activity. Accelerometry was used to summarize daily and hourly activity patterns.

Results:

“Playing with toys” accounted for the largest proportion of a child’s previous day, followed by “meals and snacks” and “chores.” Accelerometry-measured daily time spent in sedentary behavior, light PA, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was 412, 247, and 69 minutes, respectively. Percentage of hourly time spent in MVPA ranged from 3% to 13%, peaking in the late morning and evening hours. There were no statistically significant MVPA differences by weight status.

Conclusion:

This study extends our understanding of activity types, amounts, and patterns in preschool-aged children and warrants further exploration of differences in PA patterns by weight status.

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Maurice R. Puyau, Anne L. Adolph, Yan Liu, Theresa A. Wilson, Issa F. Zakeri and Nancy F. Butte

Background:

The absolute energy cost of activities in children increases with age due to greater muscle mass and physical capability associated with growth and developmental maturation; however, there is a paucity of data in preschool-aged children. Study aims were 1) to describe absolute and relative energy cost of common activities of preschool-aged children in terms of VO2, energy expenditure (kilocalories per minute) and child-specific metabolic equivalents (METs) measured by room calorimetry for use in the Youth Compendium of Physical Activity, and 2) to predict METs from age, sex and heart rate (HR).

Methods:

Energy expenditure (EE), oxygen consumption (VO2), HR, and child-METs of 13 structured activities were measured by room respiration calorimetry in 119 healthy children, ages 3 to 5 years.

Results:

EE, VO2, HR, and child-METs are presented for 13 structured activities ranging from sleeping, sedentary, low-, moderate- to high-active. A significant curvilinear relationship was observed between child-METs and HR (r 2 = .85; P = .001).

Conclusion:

Age-specific child METs for 13 structured activities in preschool-aged children will be useful to extend the Youth Compendium of Physical Activity for research purposes and practical applications. HR may serve as an objective measure of MET intensity in preschool-aged children.

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Simone A. Tomaz, Alessandra Prioreschi, Estelle D. Watson, Joanne A. McVeigh, Dale E. Rae, Rachel A. Jones and Catherine E. Draper

Overweight and obesity among preschool-aged children (3–5 y old) have become an increasing global concern. While the global prevalence of overweight and obesity among preschoolers is reported at 6.7%, 1 it is significantly higher in South African populations (22%), with more overweight and obesity