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Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior of Urban South African Preschool Children
- Presented on April 2014
Background: Physical activity and sedentary behaviour of South African preschool children has not been previously assessed, nor has the impact of socioeconomic status on these behaviours. Methods: Physical activity was measured objectively using Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometers on children 3-6 years old, including children from low income (n=87) and high-income (n=30) urban communities in Cape Town. Data were analysed using Sirard et al (2005) cut-points.
Methods: Physical activity was measured objectively using Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometers on children 3-6 years old, including children from low income (n=87) and high-income (n=30) urban communities in Cape Town. Data were analysed using Sirard et al (2005) cut-points.
Results: Overall, children spent a small percentage of time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (2%), and a large percentage of time sedentary (90%), on weekdays and weekends. Compared to the high-income group, children from the low-income group spent less time sedentary on weekdays (p=0.04359) weekends (p<0.001), and more time in light physical activity (LPA) on weekdays (p<0.001) and weekends (p<0.001). In the period from 9am-1pm (typically preschool time), low-income children spent more time sedentary (p<0.001) and less time in LPA (p<0.001) and MVPA (p=<0.001) than high-income children. Low-income children spent less time in MVPA between 1pm-5pm (p<0.01) than high-income children. However, between 5pm-9pm on weekdays, high-income children spent more time sedentary (p<0.001) and less time in LPA (p<0.001) and MVPA (p<0.001) compared to low-income children. Only 12% of children met the recommendation of at least three hours of activity per day on weekdays, and 24% achieved this on weekend days.
Conclusion: These findings have implications for the health and weight status of South African preschool children, and for the development of appropriate interventions to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behaviour in low- and high-income settings.