Objectively measured physical activity behavior in children attending a half day preschool program

Trost, Stewart G., Fees, Bronwyn, & Dzewaltowski, David (2005) Objectively measured physical activity behavior in children attending a half day preschool program. In Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee, S63-S63.

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Obesity rates are increasing in children of all ages, and reduced physical activity (PA) is a likely contributor to this trend. Little is known about the physical activity behavior of preschool-age children, or about the influence of preschool attendance on physical activity.


The purpose of this study was to quantify the physical activity levels of children attending a center-based half-day preschool program.


Forty-two 3-to-5-year old children (Mean age = 4.0 ± 0.7, 54.8% Male, Mean BMI = 16.5 ± 5.5, Mean BMI %tile = 52.1 ± 33.5) from four class groups (two morning and two afternoon), wore an Actigraph 7164 accelerometer for the entire halfday program (including classroom learning experiences, snack and recess time) 2 times per week, for 10 weeks (20 activity monitoring records in total). Activity counts for each 5-sec interval were uploaded to a customized data reduction program to determine total counts, minutes of moderate PA (MPA) (3–5.9 METs), and minutes of vigorous PA (VPA) (> = 6 METs) per session. Counts were categorized as either MPA or VPA using the cutpoints developed by Sirard and colleagues (2001).


Across the four 2.5 hour programs, the average MPA, VPA and total counts (× 103) were 12.4 ± 3.1 minutes, 18.3 ± 4.6 minutes, and 171.1 ± 29.7 counts, respectively. Thus, on average, children accumulated just over 12 minutes of moderateto-vigorous PA per hour of program attendance. The PA variables did not differ significantly by gender, weight status, or time of day. There were, however, significant age differences, with 3-year-olds exhibiting significantly less PA than their 4- and 5-year-old counterparts.


These results suggest that young children are relatively lowactive while attending preschool. Accordingly, interventions to increase movement opportunities during the preschool day are warranted.

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ID Code: 72680
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000272941.20197.9b
ISSN: 0195-9131
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 10 Jun 2014 01:02
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2014 05:17

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