Special Issue "Interventions to Promote Healthy Movement Behaviours in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings "

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Hayley Christian
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Guest Editor
PLAYCE Research Group, School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Prof. Stewart Trost
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),QLD Centre for Children’s Health Research (CCHR), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia
Prof. Dianne Stanton Ward
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC 27599, United States

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Countries such as Canada and Australia have recently released 24-hour Movement Guidelines for the early years and national physical literacy standards highlighting the importance of early movement behaviours and physical development on later health (i.e., chronic diseases such as obesity) and developmental trajectories (e.g., academic achievement). Young children spend a significant amount of time in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. ECEC is thus an important setting to promote early child movement behaviours related to physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep, as well as development-related outcomes such as physical literacy. There is a need for effective intervention strategies that target multiple movement-based behaviours and developmental outcomes for children attending ECEC. To support the implementation of these intervention strategies, they should align with country-specific early years learning frameworks, regulatory requirements, and standards.

This Special issue seeks papers on early childhood education and care interventions focused on movement behaviours such as physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep, as well as related developmental outcomes such as physical literacy. Intervention studies with a focus on the scale up and implementation of strategies at a population level are a priority.

Assoc. Prof. Hayley Christian
Prof. Stewart Trost
Prof. Dianne Stanton Ward
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • early childhood education and care
  • childcare
  • preschool
  • early years
  • early child development
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour
  • screen time
  • sleep
  • physical literacy
  • fundamental movement skills
  • intervention studies
  • implementation
  • scale up

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of a Comprehensive, Integrated Obesity Prevention Intervention Approach (SuperFIT) on Children’s Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and BMI Z-Score
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5016; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245016 - 10 Dec 2019
Abstract
SuperFIT is a comprehensive, integrated intervention approach aimed at promoting healthy energy balance-related behaviors in 2- to 4-year-old children in the preschool and home settings. A quasi-experimental research design was adopted to evaluate the effects of SuperFIT on physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior [...] Read more.
SuperFIT is a comprehensive, integrated intervention approach aimed at promoting healthy energy balance-related behaviors in 2- to 4-year-old children in the preschool and home settings. A quasi-experimental research design was adopted to evaluate the effects of SuperFIT on physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB) and Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score. Children could participate in the preschool-based and family-based component (full intervention) or only in the preschool-based component (partial intervention). Children’s PA levels and SB were assessed with accelerometers and observations, and height and weight were measured for the BMI z-score. Measurements were performed at baseline and two follow-up time points. Effectiveness was evaluated using linear mixed-model analyses, correcting for relevant covariates. Healthy changes in PA levels occurred within all study groups over time. No significant differences were found in overall PA levels between the intervention groups and control group at both follow-ups. Nevertheless, sedentary behavior decreased more in the full intervention group (effect size (ES): −0.62), and moderate-to-vigorous PA (ES: 0.85) and counts per minute (ES: 0.45) increased more compared to the control group on preschool days at the first follow-up. No effects were found for BMI z-score. The integrated approach of SuperFIT may induce changes in PA of young children, although the effects were small. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Shorter, More Frequent Outdoor Play Periods on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity during Childcare: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214126 - 26 Oct 2019
Abstract
Children’s physical activity levels are higher at the start of outdoor playtime, which suggests that shorter, more frequent play periods might result in greater amounts of daily physical activity. In this extension of the Supporting Physical Activity in the Childcare Environment (SPACE) cluster [...] Read more.
Children’s physical activity levels are higher at the start of outdoor playtime, which suggests that shorter, more frequent play periods might result in greater amounts of daily physical activity. In this extension of the Supporting Physical Activity in the Childcare Environment (SPACE) cluster randomized controlled trial, we explored the impact of four 30-min daily outdoor unstructured play periods on preschoolers’ moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). Experimental childcare centres (n = 6) implemented four 30-min daily outdoor playtimes for 8 weeks, while control centres (n = 6) maintained their two 60-min outdoor sessions. Actical™ accelerometers were used to measure preschoolers’ physical activity pre- and post-intervention for 5 days during childcare hours. Linear mixed effects models were used to determine the impact of the intervention on preschoolers’ MVPA. Of the 185 preschoolers enrolled (54.20% female; mean age = 39.90 months, SD = 7.24), 127 (65 experimental and 62 control) were included in the analysis (30% and 9% loss to follow-up for experimental and control group preschoolers, respectively). No significant differences in MVPA were observed between groups over time (p = 0.36). Preschoolers’ MVPA did not improve after the introduction of shorter outdoor play periods. The loss of data due to wear time noncompliance and participant attrition may have influenced these findings. Trial registration: ISRCTN70604107 (October 8, 2014). Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Childcare Physical Activity Interventions: A Discussion of Similarities and Differences and Trends, Issues, and Recommendations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234836 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings have a pivotal role in the promotion of physical activity for young children, and thus, the number of ECEC-based physical activity interventions has exponentially increased in the last two decades. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings have a pivotal role in the promotion of physical activity for young children, and thus, the number of ECEC-based physical activity interventions has exponentially increased in the last two decades. The aim of this study was three-fold: (1) to discuss some of the similarities and differences in ECEC-based physical activity interventions, (2) to highlight current trends and issues in the ECEC sector relating to such interventions, and (3) to provide recommendations for future interventions. Twenty-four individual studies are discussed. Most studies have targeted children aged between 3 and 5 years and involved children participating in additional physical activity opportunities while at childcare. In all studies, educators participated in some professional development either prior or during the intervention. Less the half of the studies discussed reported significant positive changes in physical activity outcomes. Those involved in developing future interventions will need to consider current national and international trends in the ECEC sector (e.g., over-crowded curriculum, administrative requirements, and more highly-qualified educators devoting time for business development), as well as creative and unique ways of delivering ECEC-based physical activity interventions. Full article

Other

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Open AccessProtocol
A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of an Intervention to Increase Physical Activity of Preschool-Aged Children Attending Early Childhood Education and Care: Study Protocol for the ‘Everybody Energise’ Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4275; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214275 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
The use of ‘Energisers,’ short bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), have been shown to significantly increase children’s physical activity within the school setting but not within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres. The aim of this study is to assess the [...] Read more.
The use of ‘Energisers,’ short bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), have been shown to significantly increase children’s physical activity within the school setting but not within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of an intervention involving the provision of educator-led daily Energisers to increase the time children spend in MVPA while attending ECEC. Fourteen ECEC centres in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia, will be randomised to either an intervention or control group. The intervention group will be supported by the research team to implement three brief (5-min) educator-led Energisers each day for children aged three to six years between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Control ECEC centres will continue to provide ‘normal practice’ to children. The primary trial outcome is child minutes of MVPA whilst in ECEC, assessed objectively via accelerometery over three days. Outcome assessment will occur at baseline and 6 months post-baseline. Linear mixed models under an intention-to-treat framework will be used to compare differences between groups in MVPA at follow-up. This will be the first cluster randomised controlled trial to test the efficacy of Energisers in isolation on increasing the time children spend in MVPA. Full article
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