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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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William J. Merriman, Beth E. Barnett and Joan B. Kofka

This study was undertaken to investigate quantitative and qualitative differences in the standing long jump as performed by preschool children with speech impairments and those with normal speech. The subjects were 15 children with speech impairments and 15 children with normal speech, 3 to 5 years of age. The qualitative movement components of the standing long jump were measured with the Developmental Sequence of the Standing Long Jump (Van Sant, 1983). Subjects were videotaped while performing the standing long jump, and each jump was rated according to the Developmental Sequence. The quantitative variable of distance jumped was also measured. The analysis of data revealed no significant differences between the mean distance scores of the speech-impaired and normal-speech groups. However, data analysis did reveal a significant difference between the mean movement component rating scores of the two groups.

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Jacqueline D. Goodway and Mary E. Rudisill

This study examined the relationship between perceived physical competence and actual motor skill competence in African American preschool children at risk of school failure and/or developmental delay (N = 59). A secondary purpose was to determine gender differences and the accuracy of self-perceptions. All children completed a perceived physical competence subscale (Harter & Pike, 1984). Actual motor skill competence was measured by Ulrich’s (1985) Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD), resulting in three scores (locomotor, object-control, and TGMD-Total). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that locomotor competence (p = .99) and gender (p = .81) did not predict perceived physical competence, but object-control competence (p = .01) did significantly predict perceived physical competence. Adding gender to this regression model did not significantly predict perceived physical competence (p = .69). These findings showed that these children are not accurate at perceiving their physical competence.

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Lauriece L. Zittel and Jeffrey A. McCubbin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an integrated physical education setting on the motor performance of preschool children with developmental delays. Subjects participated in segregated and integrated physical education classes and were observed practicing locomotor and object control skills. The quality of performance was analyzed to determine the number of critical elements present and the level of teacher or peer prompt required to initiate and complete each performance. A single-subject reversal design (A-B-A-B) was used. Four children with developmental delays were filmed within an 8-week school schedule while practicing two fundamental gross motor skills during segregated and integrated conditions. The results provide evidence that children with developmental delays are able to maintain their level of gross motor skill and independence within an integrated physical education setting. Although day-to-day variability was calculated for each subject, overall skill level remained stable and level of independence was not compromised in the integrated setting.

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Jo E. Cowden and Carol C. Torrey

This study set out to determine toy preference and use of isolate versus social toys in specific play categories. The relationship of children’s gross motor abilities to their preference for gross motor toys and of fine motor abilities to preference for fine motor toys was also examined. Additionally, the study examined the level of social versus nonsocial play behavior according to the Parten Scale of Social Participation. Twenty-four handicapped preschool children in groups of four to six were involved in three 20-min free-play sessions. Spontaneous interactions with the toys as well as among children were videotaped. Results indicated that the children did prefer to play with social toys rather than isolate toys, but play was nonsocial rather than social and occurred during 83% of the free unstructured play intervals. The children did not demonstrate a distinct relationship between gross or fine motor ability and toy preference. However, environmental or ecological variables appeared to influence their social play behaviors.

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


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.


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.


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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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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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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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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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.