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The Influence of Centre-Based Childcare on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity Levels: A Cross-Sectional Study
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1H1, Canada
School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1H1, Canada
School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5B9, Canada
Central East Tobacco Control Area Network (TCAN), Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Barrie, ON L4M 6K9, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 November 2013; in revised form: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2014 / Published: 5 February 2014
Abstract: The childcare environment represents an appropriate avenue to support physical activity among preschoolers. The aim of this study was two-fold: (1) to measure the physical activity levels of a sample of preschoolers during childcare hours; and (2) to assess which attributes (e.g., space, equipment, policies) within centre-based childcare environments influenced physical activity. Thirty-one preschoolers from 5 childcare centres across London, Canada participated. Actical accelerometers were worn by participants for one day during childcare hours to assess activity levels using a 15 second epoch length. The Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation instrument was used to conduct a full-day evaluation of the childcare environment. On average, participants engaged in 1.54 min/h of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 17.42 min/h of total physical activity. Sedentary opportunities, portable and fixed play equipment, and staff behaviour accounted for 49.3% of the variability in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 14.1% of the variability in total physical activity, with sedentary opportunities, fixed play equipment, and staff behaviours displaying an inverse relationship. Results emphasize the critical role the childcare environment plays in supporting physical activity among preschoolers.
Keywords: preschool-aged children; accelerometry; childcare environment; health promotion
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Vanderloo, L.M.; Tucker, P.; Johnson, A.M.; van Zandvoort, M.M.; Burke, S.M.; Irwin, J.D. The Influence of Centre-Based Childcare on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity Levels: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 1794-1802.
Vanderloo LM, Tucker P, Johnson AM, van Zandvoort MM, Burke SM, Irwin JD. The Influence of Centre-Based Childcare on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity Levels: A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(2):1794-1802.
Vanderloo, Leigh M.; Tucker, Patricia; Johnson, Andrew M.; van Zandvoort, Melissa M.; Burke, Shauna M.; Irwin, Jennifer D. 2014. "The Influence of Centre-Based Childcare on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity Levels: A Cross-Sectional Study." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 11, no. 2: 1794-1802.