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Anne Martin, Mhairi McNeill, Victoria Penpraze, Philippa Dall, Malcolm Granat, James Y. Paton and John J. Reilly

The Actigraph is well established for measurement of both physical activity and sedentary behavior in children. The activPAL is being used increasingly in children, though with no published evidence on its use in free-living children to date. The present study compared the two monitors in preschool children. Children (n 23) wore both monitors simultaneously during waking hours for 5.6d and 10h/d. Daily mean percentage of time sedentary (nontranslocation of the trunk) was 74.6 (SD for the Actigraph and 78.9 (SD 4.3) for activPAL. Daily mean percentage of time physically active (light intensity physical activity plus MVPA) was 25.4 (SD for the Actigraph and 21.1 (SD 4.3) for the activPAL. Bland-Altman tests and paired t tests suggested small but statistically significant differences between the two monitors. Actigraph and activPAL estimates of sedentary behavior and physical activity in young children are similar at a group level.

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Sharon Taverno Ross, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders and Russell Pate

Little is known about how screen-based sedentary behavior at home and in preschool influences children’s health and activity patterns. The current study examined the individual and cumulative influence of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children’s physical activity (PA) and weight status. Children (n = 339) attending 16 preschools in South Carolina were grouped into high and low TV groups based on parent report of children’s TV viewing at home and director report of TV use/rules in preschool. T-tests and mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in weight status and PA (min/hr) by high and low TV groups. Results revealed that children who were classified as High TV both at home and in preschool had significantly lower levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA compared with their Low TV counterparts (8.3 (0.3) min/hr vs. 7.6 (0.2) min/hr, p < .05). However, there were no significant differences in weight status or physical activity between the high and low TV groups at home or in preschool when examined individually. These findings demonstrate the importance of total environmental TV exposure on preschooler’s PA. Longitudinal and observational research to assess preschoolers’ cumulative screen-based sedentary behavior and its relationship with PA and weight status is needed.

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Sofiya Alhassan, John R. Sirard, Laura B. F. Kurdziel, Samantha Merrigan, Cory Greever and Rebecca M. C. Spencer

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to cross-validate previously developed Actiwatch (AW; Ekblom et al. 2012) and AcitGraph (AG; Sirard et al. 2005; AG-P, Pate et al. 2006) cut-point equations to categorize free-living physical activity (PA) of preschoolers using direct observation (DO) as the criterion measure. A secondary aim was to compare output from the AW and the AG from previously developed equations.

Methods:

Participants’ (n = 33; age = 4.4 ± 0.8 yrs; females, n=12) PA was directly observed for three 10-min periods during the preschool-day while wearing the AW (nondominant wrist) and AG (waist). Device specific cut-points were used to reduce the AW-E (Ekblom et al. 2012) and AG (AG-S, Sirard et al. 2005; AG-P, Pate et al. 2006) data into intensity categories. Spearman correlations (rsp) and agreement statistics were used to assess associations between the DO intensity categories and device data. Mixed model regression was used to identify differences in times spent in activity intensity categories.

Results:

There was a significant correlation between AW and AG output across all data (rsp = 0.41, p < .0001) and both were associated with the DO intensity categories (AW: rsp = 0.47, AG: rsp = 0.47; p < .001). At the individual level, all devices demonstrated relatively low sensitivity but higher specificity. At the group level, AW-E and AG-P provided similar estimates of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA, AW-E: 4.7 ± 4.1, AG-P: 4.4 ± 3.3), compared with DO (5.1 ± 3.5). Conclusion: The AW-E and AG-P estimated times spent in MVPA were similar to DO, but the weak agreement statistics indicate that neither device cut-point equations provided accurate estimates at the individual level.

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E. Michael Loovis

Toy preference and associated gross and fine motor movements of preschool orthopedically handicapped children were evaluated in a free-play situation. Fifteen children between 3 and 5 years of age and representing two separate classes served as subjects. The study was conducted for 7 weeks in the subjects’ classroom. Sessions were scheduled 2 times per week in each class, each lasting 1 hour. Twenty toys were evaluated using a modified version of the procedure developed by the University of Kansas’ Living Environments Group. Measurement of movement behavior associated with toy play involved application of a movement glossary developed by the experimenter. A Wilcoxon two-sample rank test revealed no significant differences for either gender, age, or ambulation (ambulatory versus nonambulatory) in relation to toy preference or nature of movement demonstrated. Analysis revealed that subjects spent considerable time using toys in a manner which did not correspond to their design. It was recommended that orthopedically handicapped children might benefit from learning how to play under the direction of a parent, teacher, or similar individual.

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Cheryl L. Addy, Jennifer L. Trilk, Marsha Dowda, Won Byun and Russell R. Pate

The purpose of this study was to determine the minimum number of days of accelerometry required to estimate accurately MVPA and total PA in 3- to 5-year-old children. The study examined these metrics for all days, weekdays, and in-school activities. Study participants were 204 children attending 22 preschools who wore accelerometers for at least 6 hr per day for up to 12 days during most waking hours. The primary analysis considered the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for each metric to estimate the number of days required to attain a specified reliability. The ICC estimates are 0.81 for MVPA-all days, 0.78 for total PA-all days, 0.83 for MVPA weekdays, 0.80 for total PA-weekdays, 0.81 for in-school MVPA, and 0.84 for in-school total PA. We recommend a full seven days of measurement whenever possible, but researchers can achieve acceptable reliability with fewer days, as indicated by the Spearman-Brown prophecy: 3–4 days for any weekday measure and 5–6 days for the all-days measures.

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Michelle Hamilton, Jacqueline Goodway and John Haubenstricker

The purpose was to investigate the effectiveness of parental involvement on the acquisition of object-control skills of preschool children who are at risk for developmental delay or academic failure. The experimental group (n = 15) participated in an 8-week motor skill intervention program consisting of two 45-min lessons per week delivered by the children’s parents. The control group (n = 12) participated in the regular motor skill program, which consisted of movement songs delivered by the parents. All children were pretested and posttested on the object-control subscale of the Test of Gross Motor Development (Ulrich, 1985). Both groups performed in the lower 20th percentile on the pretest. A 2 X 2 (Group X Test) ANOVA revealed that the experimental group improved significantly in the object-control subscale score from pretest to posttest, whereas the control group did not change. The results provide support for including parents in the instructional process of children who are at risk for developmental delay or academic failure.

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Tali Bar-Or, Oded Bar-Or, Heather Waters, Arif Hirji and Storm Russell

Although portable heart rate (HR) monitors are commonly used to assess energy expenditure, little is known about their suitability for preschoolers. To validate the Polar Vantage XL monitor (XL), the HRs of twenty-seven 3- to 5-year-old girls and boys were measured using the XL and ECG simultaneously. During rest, values for both methods were virtually identical (ECG = 97.3 ± 7.5, XL = 97.9 ±7.2, r = .99 for lying, and ECG = 111.1 ± 16.5, XL = 110.4± 16.3 for sitting). XL nonsignificantly underestimated HR during 1–2 min of non-steady-state cycling (ECG = 142.7 ± 11.0, XL = 140.2 ± 11.5, r = .93) and significantly overestimated it during recovery (ECG = 112.4 ± 12.8, XL = 118.0 ± 12.3, r = .92). To assess social acceptability of wearing the XL, twenty-three 3- to 5-year-old girls and boys were observed twice for 60–90 min. Approximately 90% of the time, their responses were rated as enthusiastic/positive or agreed. Only 3–5% of children refused to wear the XL. In conclusion, the XL is highly valid and socially acceptable, when used with 3- to 5-year-old children.

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Chiaki Tanaka, Yuki Hikihara, Kazunori Ohkawara and Shigeho Tanaka

This study examined the potential relationship between participation in physical activity (PA) assessed by triaxial accelerometry and physical fitness testing, including health-related and skill-related parameters of fitness, in 136 Japanese preschoolers (65 girls and 71 boys, 5.5 ± 0.6 years). In partial correlation analyses, grip strength and 20m shuttle run test were positively correlated with time spent in physical activity ratio (PAR) ≥ 4. Better scores on standing long jump distance and jump over and crawl under tests were associated with lower sedentary time and greater moderate-to-vigorous PA time and PAR ≥ 4 time, and increased physical activity level. Moreover, 25m run speed was positively correlated with time spent in PAR ≥ 4 and locomotive activity. These findings suggest that development of both health-related (muscle strength and aerobic fitness) and skill-related fitness (power, agility and speed) may make engagement in PA easier for preschool children, although further research on the cause-effect relationship is needed.

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Yi-nam Suen, Ester Cerin, Anthony Barnett, Wendy Y.J. Huang and Robin R. Mellecker

Background:

Valid instruments of parenting practices related to children’s physical activity (PA) are essential to understand how parents affect preschoolers’ PA. This study developed and validated a questionnaire of PA-related parenting practices for Chinese-speaking parents of preschoolers in Hong Kong.

Methods:

Parents (n = 394) completed a questionnaire developed using findings from formative qualitative research and literature searches. Test-retest reliability was determined on a subsample (n = 61). Factorial validity was assessed using confirmatory factor analysis. Subscale internal consistency was determined.

Results:

The scale of parenting practices encouraging PA comprised 2 latent factors: Modeling, structure and participatory engagement in PA (23 items), and Provision of appropriate places for child’s PA (4 items). The scale of parenting practices discouraging PA scale encompassed 4 latent factors: Safety concern/overprotection (6 items), Psychological/behavioral control (5 items), Promoting inactivity (4 items), and Promoting screen time (2 items). Test-retest reliabilities were moderate to excellent (0.58 to 0.82), and internal subscale reliabilities were acceptable (0.63 to 0.89).

Conclusion:

We developed a theory-based questionnaire for assessing PA-related parenting practices among Chinese-speaking parents of Hong Kong preschoolers. While some items were context and culture specific, many were similar to those previously found in other populations, indicating a degree of construct generalizability across cultures.

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

This study compared accelerometry cut points for sedentary behavior, light and moderate to vigorous intensity activity (MVPA) against a criterion measure, the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS), in preschool children. Actigraph accelerometry data were collected from 31 children (4.4 ± 0.8 yrs) during one hour of free-play. Video data were coded using the CARS. Cut points by Pate et al., van Cauwenberghe et al., Sirard et al. and Puyau et al. were applied to calculate time spent in sedentary, light and MVPA. Repeated-measures ANOVA and paired t tests tested differences between the cut points and the CARS. Bland and Altman plots tested agreement between the cut points and the CARS. No significant difference was found between the CARS and the Puyau et al. cut points for sedentary, light and MVPA or between the CARS and the Sirard et al. cut point for MVPA. The present study suggests that the Sirard et al. and Puyau et al. cut points provide accurate group-level estimates of MVPA in preschool children.