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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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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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Fotini Venetsanou and Antonis Kambas

Background:

This study investigated if motor proficiency (MP) in preschool age associate with physical activity (PA) in adolescence.

Methods:

In 2004, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form (BOTMP-SF) (7) was administered to 413 children, aged 4–6 years, who were classified to MP groups according to their BOTMP-SF total score (TS). In 2014, the PA of 106 former participants (47 boys, 59 girls) was measured with Omron pedometers. MP [three (high; above average; average)] × gender (two) ANOVA and Bonferroni tests were computed on average of steps/week.

Results:

A significant interaction between the two factors was revealed (F = 15.27, p < .001, η2=.153), indicating that MP influenced male and female PA differently. Only in average MP group, males presented higher PA than females, whereas there were no differences between the two genders in the higher MP groups. Moreover, the only significant difference in PA among male groups was that between high and above average MP groups, while in females there were significant differences among all groups.

Conclusion:

High MP at preschool age positively associated with the PA in adolescence, especially in females. Emphasis on the development of proficient young movers might be beneficial for lifelong PA.

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Janet E. Fulton, Charlene R. Burgeson, Geraldine R. Perry, Bettylou Sherry, Deborah A. Galuska, Maria P. Alexander, Howell Wechsler and Carl J. Caspersen

An expert panel workshop had two specific aims: (a) to review the current state of knowledge of existing methods for assessing physical activity and sedentary behavior in order to determine their reliability, validity, feasibility, strengths, and limitations and (b) to set research priorities and recommendations to enable the use of reliable and valid instruments for assessing physical activity and sedentary behavior within the context of three public health functions for children ages 2–5 years. Experts presented four major recommendations for research priorities at the conclusion of the 2-day workshop. The need to develop valid methods for measuring physical activity and sedentary behavior was considered the necessary first step to accomplish meaningful physical activity surveillance, public health research, and intervention research for children ages 2–5 years.

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Edward H. Ip, Santiago Saldana, Grisel Trejo, Sarah A. Marshall, Cynthia K. Suerken, Wei Lang, Thomas A. Arcury and Sara A. Quandt

Background:

Obesity disproportionately affects children of Latino farmworkers. Further research is needed to identify patterns of physical activity (PA) in this group and understand how PA affects Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile.

Methods:

Two hundred and forty-four participants ages 2.5 to 3.5 in the Niños Sanos longitudinal study wore accelerometers that measured daily PA. Several PA-related parameters formed a profile for conducting hidden Markov modeling (HMM), which identified different states of PA.

Results:

Latino farmworker children were generally sedentary. Two different states were selected using HMM—less active and more active. In the more active state; members spent more minutes in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Most children were in the less active state at any given time; however, switching between states occurred commonly. One variable—mother’s concern regarding lack of PA—was a marginally significant predictor of membership in the more active state. State did not predict BMI or weight percentile after adjusting for caloric intake.

Conclusion:

Most children demonstrated high amounts of sedentary behavior, and rates of MVPA fell far below recommended levels for both states. The lack of statistically significant results for risk factors and PA state on weight-related outcomes is likely due to the homogeneous behaviors of the children.

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Brittany G. Travers, Heather L. Kirkorian, Matthew J. Jiang, Koeun Choi, Karl S. Rosengren, Porter Pavalko and Paul Jobin

Folding paper is a seemingly simple act that requires planning, bimanual coordination, and manual strength and control to produce specific forces. Although paper folding has been used as an assessment tool and as a way to promote spatial skills, this study represents the first attempt to document when paper folding emerges across early childhood. Seventy-seven children (ages 18 months to 7 years) and an adult reference group (24 college-aged adults) completed three pre-specified folds on a single piece of paper. Dependent variables included whether children attempted each fold and, if so, the accuracy of each fold. Grip strength, pinch strength, and developmental level were examined as potential correlates of paper folding. The results demonstrated that paper folding emerges as early as 27 months of age but becomes more accurate with age. At least 50% of children between 4 and 5.5 years of age completed folds. Additionally, children with more age-appropriate problem-solving skills attempted more folds, independent of age. These findings provide a descriptive framework for the ages at which paper folding emerges and suggest that paper-folding interventions could be implemented at even earlier ages than what previously has been examined.

Open access

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

activity. However, research on the physical activity levels of preschool-age children has shown that children are not meeting physical activity recommendations 3 and tend to be inactive or sedentary for large portions of their day. 4 , 5 In preschool-age children, high amounts of inactivity have been

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Paul M. Wright, Lauriece L. Zittel, Tawanda Gipson and Crystal Williams

Physical development is an important outcome in early childhood education for a number of reasons ( Pica, 2006 ; Sanders, 2002 ). For example, in addition to the direct benefits of increased gross motor and fine motor skills, physical development among preschool-age children (3–5 years old) has

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Connie L. Tompkins, Erin K. Shoulberg, Lori E. Meyer, Caroline P. Martin, Marissa Dennis, Allison Krasner and Betsy Hoza

In recent years, several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Unites States, issued physical activity (PA) guidelines for young children. 1 – 4 Although developed independently, each of these guidelines recommend preschool-aged children participate in a total of 3