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Megan MacDonald, Catherine Lord and Dale A. Ulrich

In addition to the core characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), motor skill deficits are present, persistent, and pervasive across age. Although motor skill deficits have been indicated in young children with autism, they have not been included in the primary discussion of early intervention content. One hundred fifty-nine young children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD (n = 110), PDD-NOS (n = 26), and non-ASD (n = 23) between the ages of 14–33 months participated in this study.1 The univariate general linear model tested the relationship of fine and gross motor skills and social communicative skills (using calibrated autism severity scores). Fine motor and gross motor skills significantly predicted calibrated autism severity (p < .05). Children with weaker motor skills have greater social communicative skill deficits. Future directions and the role of motor skills in early intervention are discussed.

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Samuel W. Logan, Christina M. Hospodar, Kathleen R. Bogart, Michele A. Catena, Heather A. Feldner, Jenna Fitzgerald, Sarah Schaffer, Bethany Sloane, Benjamin Phelps, Joshua Phelps and William D. Smart

More than 30 years of research has demonstrated that young children with disabilities who use powered mobility devices for self-directed mobility experience developmental gains such as increased self-initiated social interactions and social skills, increased exploration of the environment, and

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Lisa M. Barnett and Owen Makin

health behaviors. It has been hypothesized that young children engage in physical activity, thereby helping their movement skills develop, and in turn they develop positive perceptions of their movement skill competence ( Stodden et al., 2008 ). This process is seen as positive and cyclical, in that as

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Lina Engelen, Anita C Bundy, Jamie Lau, Geraldine Naughton, Shirley Wyver, Adrian Bauman and Louise Baur

Background:

To promote healthy lifestyles, we need to understand more about the patterns of children’s activities after school.

Methods:

Twenty 5- to 7-year-old children and their parents participated in this study. Parents used ‘real-time’ diaries to report children’s activities and contextual information at 3 randomly selected times per day, over 4 week days. Reporting was repeated after 13 weeks. Simultaneously children wore Actical accelerometers.

Results:

Approximately 300 simultaneous accelerometer measurements and diary entries were compared. Mean physical activity levels were highest when children engaged in activities generally considered as “active” and lowest for doing “nothing.” However, the range within activities was very large; some children who reported TV/screen time accumulated high accelerometry counts and conversely, some children were practically sedentary during organized sports. Children spent most (78%) of their after school time indoors, but the children were significantly more active outdoors than indoors [t(74.8) = 5.0, P < .001].

Conclusions:

Accelerometer data in conjunction with real-time diaries provide a more complete understanding of the value of outdoor play in increasing movement opportunities for children’s after school activities.

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Xiangli Gu, Senlin Chen and Xiaoxia Zhang

inadequate understandings or misconceptions about fitness and physical activity ( Brusseau, Kulinna, & Cothran, 2011 ; Chen & Nam, 2017 ; Keating et al., 2009 ; Pasco & Ennis, 2015 ; Sun, Chen, Zhu, & Ennis, 2012 ). Furthermore, we were unable to locate published research that has examined young children’s

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Morgan Potter, John C. Spence, Normand Boulé, Jodie A. Stearns and Valerie Carson

. Understanding the longitudinal relationship between PA, ST, and fitness of younger children will help determine the critical age to intervene to improve the fitness of children. In addition, longitudinal evidence can also provide insight on behavioral tracking. If PA and ST patterns in young children are

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Christopher J. Armitage and Christine A. Sprigg

There is a dearth of research examining physical activity in children aged 6–10 years with low socioeconomic status, despite the fact there is good reason to suspect this is a critical period when physical activity habits are created. Physical activity and theory of planned behavior variables were measured at three time points, and children (N = 77) randomized to the experimental condition were additionally asked to form an implementation intention. Intention was a potent mediator of the past behavior–future behavior relationship and the implementation intention intervention significantly increased physical activity compared with the control condition. The findings suggest that physical activity can be increased in children aged 6–10 years with low socioeconomic status and that implementation intentions might enhance the effectiveness of children’s physical activity programs.

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Stephen Langendorfer

Aquatic experiences including structured instructional programs for young children have become extremely popular over the past two decades despite opposition and controversy. Surprisingly, this popularity and controversy have not given rise to extensive or sustained research efforts by exercise scientists or aquatic professionals. Most information available for assessing risks and benefits of aquatic experiences for young children must be gleaned from ancillary sources in medical and educational literature. This paper reviews important issues and questions in the medical, developmental, and pedagogical areas of early childhood aquatics. The need for basic and applied research efforts by teams of exercise scientists from physiologic, psychologic, medical, and aquatic backgrounds is apparent.

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Kate A. Heelan and Joey C. Eisenmann

Background:

It is uncertain as to whether physical activity (PA) may influence the body composition of young children.

Purpose:

To determine the association between PA, media time, and body composition in children age 4 to 7 y.

Methods:

100 children (52 girls, 48 boys) were assessed for body-mass index (BMI), body fat, fat mass (FM), and fat-free mass using dual energy x-ray absorbtiometryptiometry (DXA). PA was monitored using accelerometers and media time was reported by parental proxy.

Results:

In general, correlations were low to moderate at best (r < 0.51), but in the expected direction. Total media time and TV were significantly associated with BMI (r = 0.51, P < 0.05) and FM (r = 0.29 to 0.30, P < 0.05) in girls. In boys, computer usage was significantly associated with FM in boys (r = 0.31, P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

The relatively low correlations suggest that other factors may influence the complex, multi-factorial body composition phenotype of young children.

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Abigail Fisher, John J. Reilly, Colette Montgomery, Louise A. Kelly, Avril Williamson, Diane M. Jackson, James Y. Paton and Stanley Grant

This study examined whether there was a significant seasonal variation in objectively measured habitual physical activity and sedentary behavior in young children. Participants were children who attend nursery in Glasgow, Scotland, and measurements were taken using uniaxial accelerometry over 3 to 6 days. There were small but significant seasonal associations with physical activity and sedentary behavior (ANOVA: p < .001 in both cases). Total physical activity (accelerometry cpm) was significantly lower in spring than in summer, fall, and winter. We also found slight but significant seasonal variations in time spent in low-intensity activity and in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity. Sedentary time was significantly lower in summer vs. spring and in fall vs. spring. The present study suggests that seasonality plays only a limited role in physical activity and sedentary behavior in young children in our setting. Single measures of these variables should be adequate for research purposes in the absence of marked seasonal variability. In our sample and setting, the limited degree of seasonality precluded identification of major seasonal barriers to and opportunities for physical activity.