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Characterization of preschoolers’ active play opportunities at child care
- Presented on May 21, 2014
Purpose: To examine opportunities for physical activity (PA) at child care and how they relate to the amount and intensity of PA.
Methods: 44 children (mean age 4.1 yrs, 57% girls) from 5 centers wore accelerometers and were observed for average 7.6 hours/ day (total 29 days). Observers coded activities into: 1) Not an active play opportunity, 2) nap time, 3) APO_outdoor free play, 4) APO_outdoor teacher-led, 5) APO_indoor free play, and 6) APO_indoor teacher-initiated. Accelerometer data was scored as sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous.
Results: Overall children’s activity levels were 73% sedentary, 12% light and 14% MVPA. Mean MVPA was 52 minutes/day with 20% attaining > 60 minutes/day. For 68% of the child care day children were not offered active play opportunities and 19% of time was naptime. 44 minutes/day were active play opportunities. Of this, 0.4% of time was teacher-led outdoor play (34% sedentary, 14% light, 53% MVPA); 6.9% time outdoor free play (39% sedentary, 18% light, 43% MVPA), 3.6% time indoor teacher-led active play (56% sedentary, 14% light, 30% MVPA); 3.2% time indoor active free play (33% sedentary, 17% light, 50% MVPA).
Conclusions: 87% of child care time was not an opportunity for active play, so it is not surprising that children are sedentary for >70% of time. Teacher-led outdoor activities had the greatest intensity PA but constituted a small proportion of time. Strategies to increase PA at child care should include decreasing expectations for sedentary activities and be informed by research on which modifications would have greatest impact.
ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference