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Katherine L. Downing, Trina Hinkley and Kylie D. Hesketh

Background:

There is little current understanding of the influences on sedentary behavior and screen time in preschool children. This study investigated socioeconomic position (SEP) and parental rules as potential correlates of preschool children’s sedentary behavior and screen time.

Methods:

Data from the Healthy Active Preschool Years (HAPPY) Study were used. Participating parents reported their child’s usual weekly screen time and their rules to regulate their child’s screen time. Children wore accelerometers for 8 days to objectively measure sedentary time.

Results:

Children whose parents limited television viewing spent significantly less time in that behavior and in total screen time; however, overall sedentary behavior was unaffected. An association between parents limiting computer/electronic game use and time spent on the computer was found for girls only. SEP was inversely associated with girls’, but not boys’, total screen time and television viewing.

Conclusions:

As parental rules were generally associated with lower levels of screen time, intervention strategies could potentially encourage parents to set limits on, and switch off, screen devices. Intervention strategies should target preschool children across all SEP areas, as there was no difference by SEP in overall sedentary behavior or screen time for boys.

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Jennifer R. O’Neill, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Marsha Dowda and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Little is known about the relationship between children’s physical activity (PA) in preschool (in-school) and outside of preschool (out-of-school). This study described this relationship.

Methods:

Participants were 341 children (4.6 ± 0.3 years) in 16 preschools. Accelerometers measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total physical activity (TPA) in-school and out-of-school. In the full sample, Pearson correlation was used to describe associations between in-school and out-of-school PA. In addition, children were categorized as meeting or not meeting a PA guideline during school. MVPA and TPA were compared between the 2 groups and in-school and out-of-school using 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results:

In the full sample, in-school and out-of-school PA were positively correlated for MVPA (r = .13, P = .02) and TPA (r = .15, P = .01). Children who met the guideline in-school remained comparably active out-of-school. However, those who did not meet the guideline were more active out-of-school than in-school. The groups were active at comparable levels while out-of-school. Identical patterns were seen for MVPA and TPA.

Conclusions:

Children’s in-school PA was positively associated with out-of-school PA. Children who did not meet the guideline in-school were more active out-of-school than in-school, suggesting preschool and classroom factors may reduce some children’s PA in-school.

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Elizabeth E. Dawson-Hahn, Megan D. Fesinmeyer and Jason A. Mendoza

Background:

Physical activity is associated with long-term benefits for health and tracks from early childhood into later adolescence. Limited information exists about factors influencing physical activity among Latino preschoolers. We aimed to identify correlates of objectively measured light-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity as a proportion of wear time (% PA) in Latino 3–5 year olds.

Methods:

Latino preschoolers (n = 96) were recruited from Head Start centers in Houston, TX, USA, from 2009 to 2010. Sociodemographics, anthropometrics, acculturation, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing were measured. Actigraph GT1M accelerometers measured physical activity. Block linear regression was used with % PA as the dependent variable.

Results:

Children achieved 285.7 ± 58.0 min/day of PA. In the final adjusted-model, child age, parental education and neighborhood disorder were positively associated with % PA (beta = 0.33, p = .002; beta = 0.25, p = .038; beta = 0.22, p = .039, respectively). TV viewing was inversely associated with % PA (beta=-0.23, p = .027).

Conclusion:

The majority of Latino preschoolers in our study exceeded US national and international guidelines of physical activity duration. Future interventions to sustain physical activity should focus on the influence of age, socioeconomic status, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing on Latino preschoolers’ attainment of physical activity.

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Martin E. Block and Timothy D. Davis

Traditional motor development programs for preschool children with disabilities usually utilize a behavior-analytic approach in which children are given specific training and instruction on identified IEP objectives. While this approach has its merits in terms of time-on-task and focus on critical IEP objectives, it is not consistent with current developmentally appropriate philosophies in early childhood education. One of the newer techniques suggested by early childhood educators as a “best practice” in educating young children is an activity-based or play-based approach. Children still have individually determined goals and objectives, but these goals and objectives are “embedded” in a variety of child-directed play activities. The teacher acts as a facilitator, encouraging the child to practice individual goals while exploring the environment. The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of activity-based intervention and provide examples of how it can be implemented within a motor development/physical education context for preschool children with disabilities.

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Virginie Nicaise, David Kahan, Karen Reuben and James F. Sallis

This study investigated the impact of renovation and redesign of a university preschool’s outdoor space on children’s sedentary behavior, light activity, and moderate-to-vigorous-physical-activity (MVPA) during unstructured recess. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry and direct observation in two independent samples of 50 (baseline) and 57 (postintervention) children (M age=4.4 yrs ± 0.5). Controlling for gender, age, BMI and recess length, observational data, but not accelerometry, revealed a significant decrease in intervals spent sedentary (-26.5%) and increases in light physical activity (+11.6%) and MVPA (+14.9%). Higher levels of MVPA were associated with specific environmental changes (new looping cycle path, OR = 2.18; increased playground open space, OR = 7.62; and new grass hill, OR = 3.27). Decreased sedentary behavior and increased light activity and MVPA may be realized with environmental changes that promote continuous and novel movement experiences in more expansive spaces.

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Dylan P. Cliff, Anthony D. Okely, Leif M. Smith and Kim McKeen

Gender differences in cross-sectional relationships between fundamental movement skill (FMS) subdomains (locomotor skills, object-control skills) and physical activity were examined in preschool children. Forty-six 3- to 5-year-olds (25 boys) had their FMS video assessed (Test of Gross Motor Development II) and their physical activity objectively monitored (Actigraph 7164 accelerometers). Among boys, object-control skills were associated with physical activity and explained 16.9% (p = .024) and 13.7% (p = .049) of the variance in percent of time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total physical activity, respectively, after controlling for age, SES and z-BMI. Locomotor skills were inversely associated with physical activity among girls, and explained 19.2% (p = .023) of the variance in percent of time in MVPA after controlling for confounders. Gender and FMS subdomain may influence the relationship between FMS and physical activity in preschool children.

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Jo E. Cowden and Bobby L. Eason

PL 99-457 and PL 101-176 have presented a new challenge for adapted physical education. Federal legislation has provided financial incentive for states to increase the intensity and duration of early intervention programs for the infant/toddler/preschool child with disabilities (ITPCD). The present article proposes a conceptual framework for a new subfield, pediatric adapted physical education (PAPE). The origins and essence of federal legislation affecting infants, toddlers, and preschoolers is explained. Because the legislation requires a multi-agency/multidisciplined approach, the role of adapted physical education within the larger context is explained, as is the professional preparation of practitioners of the new subfield. Finally, one state’s initiative is explained to serve as an action plan for other adapted physical education leaders.

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Melody Oliver, Philip John Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

Accelerometers are widely used to quantify physical activity (PA) in preschoolers, yet no ‘best practice’ method for data treatment exists. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust method for data reduction using contemporary statistical methods and apply it to preschoolers’ accelerometer data.

Methods:

Children age 2 to 5 years were recruited in Auckland, New Zealand, and asked to wear accelerometers over 7 days. Average daily PA rates per second were derived for participants, estimated using negative binomial generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. Overall participant rates were derived and compared using normal GEE models. Descriptive information for data analyzed were compared with that derived using traditional data inclusion approaches.

Results:

Data were gathered from 78 of the 93 enrolled children over a median of 7 days. Daily PA rates ranged from 1.27 to 17.64 counts per second (median 5.70). Compared with traditional approaches, this method had many advantages, including improved data retention, the computation of a continuous measure, and facilitating powerful multivariable regression analyses, while providing similar descriptive information to existing methods.

Conclusion:

PA rates were successfully calculated for preschoolers’ activity description and advantages of the approach identified. This method holds promise for future use and merits further application and enhancement.

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Leanne Liggett, Andrew Gray, Winsome Parnell, Rob McGee and Yvette McKenzie

Background:

Objective measures, such as accelerometers, are increasingly being used to measure physical activity (PA) levels in children, and the use of validated and reliable instruments is desirable when measuring the effectiveness of programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity and reliability of the New Lifestyles NL-1000 accelerometer among preschoolers using a modified version of the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS).

Methods:

Fourteen preschoolers wore the NL-1000 at their waist while the device measured activity levels [in seconds of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)]. They were also videoed for approximately 12 minutes while participating in normal activities at an early childhood center. At approximately 2-minute intervals, activity level readings derived from the NL-1000 were recorded. The video footage was analyzed using a modified CARS technique and the CARS scores compared with data obtained from the accelerometer.

Results:

Within subject reliability was measured using intraclass correlation coefficients (0.58 for CARS and 0.59 for NL-1000). Furthermore, 95% of the variation in CARS could be explained by variation in the accelerometer counts, with 2.4% of the variation being participant-specific.

Conclusion:

The NL-1000 is a sufficiently reliable and valid tool for assessing MVPA in preschoolers.

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E. Kipling Webster, Danielle D. Wadsworth and Leah E. Robinson

This study examined the acute effects of a 10-min teacher-implemented classroom-based activity break (AB) on physical activity participation and time on-task in a preschool-age population. 118 (M age = 3.80 ± 0.69 years) students from one preschool served as participants. The intervention took place over 4 days: 2 days AB were conducted and 2 days typical instruction occurred. Physical activity was monitored via accelerometry and time on-task was measured by direct observation. Results demonstrated that AB led to a higher percent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the AB (M = 29.7%, p > .001). Breaks also promoted more on-task behavior (F U17 = 18.86, p > .001) following the AB. Specifically, the most off-task students before the break improved on-task behavior by 30 percentage points (p > .001). Percent of school day MVPA was also higher during AB days (i 117 = 3.274, p = .001). Findings indicate teachers may improve time on-task postbreak for preschoolers with a short bout of physical activity in the classroom, especially in children who are the most off-task. In addition, classroom-based AB resulted in marginal increases in MVPA during breaks that influenced whole day activity.