Research Study Abstract

Physical Activity Levels During Structured PA Sessions in Flemish Preschools

  • Presented on 2009

Introduction Since low levels of PA may predispose children to obesity in later life, it is important to promote PA beginning as early as in preschool age. Structured PA sessions can be an important contributor to daily PA. In Flanders virtually all children attend preschool and preschools are obliged to organise structured PA sessions. The present study investigated PA levels during structured PA sessions in Flemish preschools.

Methods In a sample of 539 preschool children from 37 preschools (267 boys, 272 girls; 5.4 ± 0.4 years old) accelerometer-based PA levels (ActiGraph GT1M, 15 seconds epochs) were determined during the structured PA sessions (n=40) delivered by the preschool teacher (n=23) or by a specialized PE teacher (n=15). Independent samples t-tests were used for analyses.

Results The average duration of a structured PA session was 45.8 ± 12.9 minutes. According to the cut-points of Sirard et al. (2005), the children were 62.2 ± 13.3% of the session sedentary and spent 22.4 ± 7.3% on light PA and 15.4 ± 9.0% on MVPA. There was a trend that boys were more active than girls (654.4 ± 417.5 counts per epoch (CPE) versus 588.1 ± 394.0 CPE; p=0.059). Furthermore, children’s activity levels were higher in sessions delivered by a graduated preschool teacher than in sessions delivered by a specialised PE teacher (661.4 ± 450.4 CPE versus 545.7 ± 295.9 CPE; p<0.001).

Conclusions Structured PA sessions in preschool are mainly sedentary and little time is spent on MVPA.

Presented at

Annual Meeting of the International Society on Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity