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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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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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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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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

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Cory J. Greever, John Sirard and Sofiya Alhassan

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the temporal patterns of preschoolers’ physical activity (PA) levels during a typical outdoor free playtime.

Methods:

Baseline playtime accelerometer counts (4.3 ± 0.8 days) from 3 preschool PA intervention studies were used (n = 326 children, age = 4.0 ± 0.8 years). Data were collected using 15-second epochs and classified into sedentary, light, or moderate-tovigorous physical activity (MVPA). Patterns of change during playtime were analyzed using orthogonal polynomial comparisons.

Results:

For all ages, there was a U-shaped pattern of change for the percent of epochs classified as sedentary [F(1, 323) = 47.12, P < .001) and an inverted U-shaped pattern of change for the percent of epochs classified as MVPA [F(1,323) = 32.15, P < .001]. Age-stratified analyses indicated that the 3-year-olds maintained the decrease in sedentary time [F(2,323) = 6.408, P = .002] and the increase in MVPA [F(2,323) = 3.2, P = .04] to a greater extent than the 4- and 5-year-olds.

Conclusions:

Preschool children gradually became more active during the first 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor gross motor playtime and less active over the final 10 to 15 minutes of playtime. During the second half of playtime 3-year-olds maintained these changes to a greater degree than 4- and 5-year-olds.

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Russell R. Pate, Marsha Dowda, William H. Brown, Jonathan Mitchell and Cheryl Addy

Background:

It is known that children are more physically active outdoors than indoors. However, few previous studies have observed the time course for physical activity as young children transition from indoor to outdoor activities.

Methods:

Participants were 3- to 5-year-old children enrolled in the Children’s Activity and Movement in Preschool Study (CHAMPS). Trained observers used the Observational System for Recording Physical Activity in Children-Preschool Version (OSRAC-P) to record children’s physical activity levels over 20 minutes in outdoor settings. The 20-minute outdoor observational period began immediately following the transition from indoors to outdoors.

Results:

Children’s activity levels were moderately high at the time of transition and declined over the 20-minute observation period. Different patterns, however, were observed for boys and girls. Overall, boys were more active than girls. Boys’ activity levels declined in a linear fashion over the 20-minute period, while girls’ activity levels increased slightly, decreased, and then increased slightly again.

Conclusions:

These data indicate that physical activity levels decline with increased duration of outdoor play. The frequency and duration of outdoor play should be investigated for the purpose of optimizing physical activity levels.