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Permanent play facility provision is associated with children's time spent sedentary and in light physical activity during school hours: A cross-sectional study
- Published on Dec 2016
Objective: To study the associations between: 1) number of permanent outdoor play facilities per pupil and 2) the size of the outdoor play area per pupil with sedentary time and physical activity (PA) during school hours in six-, nine-, and 15-year olds. We conducted a cross-sectional study of nationally representative samples of Norwegian six- (n = 1071), nine- (n = 1421) and 15-year-olds (n = 1106) in 2011 (the Physical Activity Among Norwegian Children Study). The participation rates were 56.4%, 73.1% and 57.8% for six-, nine- and 15-year olds, respectively. We assessed PA objectively for seven consecutive days using accelerometers, the size of a school’s outdoor play area (SOPA) using an online map service and the permanent play facility (PPF) provision using a standardized form during school site visits. We successfully measured SOPA and PPF in 99 schools, from which 3040 participants provided valid accelerometer data. We used generalized least-squares random-effects models with robust variance estimation to assess associations. Our results indicate that better provision of permanent play facilities may reduce sedentary time and increase time spent in light PA among six-year-olds. Permanent play facility provision was not associated with sedentary time or PA among nine- and 15-year-olds. Associations found between outdoor play area size, physical activity and sedentary time were negligible. Future research should investigate what types of permanent play facilities may be associated with physical activity in both children and adolescents.