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.
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.
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.
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.