Research Study Abstract

The Effect of a Structured Physical Activity Session on Daily Activity Levels in Preschool Children

  • Presented on 2009

Introduction Since low levels of PA may predispose children to obesity in later life, it is important to monitor and promote PA beginning as early as in preschool age. However, PA data in preschoolers are still limited. The present study aimed at investigating the effects of a structured PA session, focusing on active play, on daily activity levels.

Methods In a convenience sample of 197 preschoolers from 16 preschools (114 girls, 83 boys; 5.4 ± 0.4 years old) accelerometer–based PA levels (ActiGraph GT1M, 15 seconds epochs) were evaluated on 2 preschool attending days. On the first day, all usual activities took place, including a structured motor learning session by the preschool teachers. On the second day, the researchers provided a PA session, focusing on active play. Making use of paired samples testing, activity levels of both days were compared.

Results The children were more active during the active play sessions than during the motor learning sessions (26.5% versus 11.6% MVPA, 838 versus 457 CPE (counts per epoch); p<0.001). The mean CPE for the total day was significantly higher on the day of the active play session (214 versus 204 CPE; p=0.035). Based on the cut-points of Sirard et al. (2005), preschoolers were less sedentary on the day of the active play session (p=0.03), while no significant differences were found for the other intensity levels.

Conclusion In preschoolers, a structured active play session does increase the daily activity level and should therefore be recommended.

Link to Abstract:

Presented at

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