Research Study Abstract

Does Time Spent in Child Care Influence Preschool Children’s Physical Activity?

  • Added on June 15, 2012

Purpose Low levels of physical activity (PA) have been associated with increased risk of child overweight. Multiple studies show that young children are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of PA during their 8-hour day in childcare. (Reilly, 2010) This study will explored whether time spent in childcare is related to children’s PA.

Methods The present study used baseline data from a larger study. Children (2-5y) wore ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers, programmed with a 15-second epoch, for 7 days. Those with 3+ days (4+ hrs/day) were included in the analysis (n=282). Age-appropriate cutpoints (Pate, 2006) were used to calculate minutes of sedentary and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Parent surveys captured race, education, income, child age, and time in childcare. Simple regression models were used to assess associations between PA and socio-demographic variables. Multivariable regression models were used to assess independent associations between PA and time in childcare.

Results Bivariate analyses revealed that MVPA and sedentary time were significantly associated with child gender (p<0.0001, 0.004), parent race (p<0.0001), education (p=0.016, 0.056), and income (p=0.065, 0.008), but not time in childcare. Multivariate models showed that time in childcare wasn’t associated with PA after controlling for socio-demographics, even when data was limited to weekdays. Hrs/wk in childcare: MVPA min (SD), Sedentary min (SD) – 0 hrs: 49.2 (20.7), 300.1 (37.1); 1-20 hrs: 53.4 (18.8), 294.7 (30.6); 20-32 hrs: 46.3 (16.7), 296.0 (28.1); >32 hrs: 49.8 (17.3), 294.2 (32.5)

Conclusions While child PA appears to vary across socio-demographic variables, time in childcare does not appear to have an influence.