Research Study Abstract

Accelerometer Measured Level of Physical Activity Indoors and Outdoors During Preschool Time in Sweden and United States

  • Presented on 2011

Introduction It is important to understand the determinants of physical activity needed to influence policy and create environments that promote physical activity among preschool children. Physical activity levels were studied with the aims to compare outdoor and indoor activity and to analyze minutes spent in sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous physical activity in 3- to 5-year-old boys and girls during preschool time in Raleigh North Carolina United States and Malmö Sweden.

Methods Accelerometer determined physical activity in 55 three to five-year-old children was recorded during preschool time for 5 consecutive days at four sites. The children wore an Actigraph GTIM Monitor.

Results Preschool children spent significantly more time indoors than outdoors (p<.001). Significantly more moderate and vigorous intensity (MVPA) was observed outdoors (p<.001). The Malmö children performed significantly more counts/min indoors (p<.001) and had a significantly higher percentage of MVPA indoor (p<.001) than the Raleigh children. MVPA during outdoor time did not differ between Raleigh and Malmö.

Discussion and Conclusion In this study we found a difference in objectively measured physical activity among preschoolers aged 3-5 between a US setting and a Swedish setting. Higher levels of objectively measured physical activity (pedometers) in Swedish children compared to US children (age 7-14 years) has been previously reported [1] . This difference, that seems to prevail to at least 18 years of age [2], thus seems to start out as early as at preschool age. Time spent in MVPA at preschool was very short and predominantly adopted outside in both countries. We conclude that outdoor time seems to be a universal trigger of MVPA and should therefore be encouraged.

References [1] Vincent, SD, Pangrazi RP, Raustorp A. Activity levels and body mass index of children in the United States, Sweden and Australia. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003; 35:1367-73. [2].Raustorp A, Svensson K, Perlinger T. Tracking of pedometer determined physical activity. A five year follow-up study of adolescents in Sweden. Ped Exerc Sci 2007; 19: 228–38.

Link to Abstract:


Journal of Physical Activity & Health

Presented at

ICAMPAM- Glasgow 2011


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