Research Study Abstract

Impact of Short Bouts of Structured Activity on Preschool-Age Children During-School Physical Activity

  • Added on June 15, 2012

Purpose To examine the effects of short bouts of structured physical activity (PA) on during-school total PA in lower socioeconomic status preschoolers.

Methods Ten preschool centers serving low-income families will be recruited and randomly assigned to one of two groups. Treatment preschools will implement the Tutti Fruitti Instant Recess intervention during the first 10 minutes of the designated PA playtime (classroom); after which children will be allowed to engage in free play activities (unstructured play) for the remaining 20 minutes. Control preschools will continue to participate in 30 minutes of unstructured PA playtime. Both groups’ program will be implemented during both the morning and afternoon designated PA playtime for five days/week for six months.

Results We have successfully recruited 10 preschools (39 classroom; total of 720 preschoolers) to participant in the study. A total of 320 parents (treatment, n=156; control, n=164) have consented to have their children measured for the study. PA will be assessed for five consecutive school days using Actigraph accelerometers at baseline, 3-month, and 6-month. Primary outcomes (change in PA) and mediating variables will be analyzed using generalized linear modeling.

Conclusions Physical inactivity in children in the US has resulted in alarming increases in obesity and associated diseases. Studies in preschools show that outdoor playtime does not result in much PA. This study examines ways to increase activity levels during those designated playtimes. If successful, this inexpensive and easy-to-implement approach will inform policy changes in schools and may improve the health and well-being of preschoolers.