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UK Preschool-aged children’s physical activity levels in childcare and at home: a cross-sectional exploration

Hesketh, KR; Griffin, SJ; van Sluijs, EMF; (2015) UK Preschool-aged children’s physical activity levels in childcare and at home: a cross-sectional exploration. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 12 (1) 10.1186/s12966-015-0286-1. Green open access

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Abstract

Background Young children are thought to be inactive in childcare, but little is known about location-specific activity levels. This observational study sought to describe the in-care and out-of-care activity patterns of preschool-aged children and explore differences in physical activity level by childcare attendance. Methods Three to four-year-old children were recruited from 30 preschool and nursery ‘settings’ in Cambridgeshire, UK. Average minutes per hour (min/h) spent sedentary (SED), in light physical activity (LPA) and in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were measured by accelerometry for up to 7 days (mean: 6.7 ± 1.1). Weekly childcare attendance patterns were reported by parents. The within-child association between childcare attendance and outcomes was assessed using two- and three-level hierarchical regression; sex by care (in/out) interactions were considered. Results Two hundred and two children (51 % female) had valid activity data for ≥2 days. Children, and particularly boys, were less sedentary and more active when in care compared to at home (SED: Boys: β (SE): −6.4 (0.5) min/h, Girls: −4.8 (0.5); LPA: Boys: 0.6 (0.4), Girls: 1.8 (0.4); MVPA: Boys: 5.7 (0.5); Girls: 3.0 (0.4)). Differences between in-care and at-home activity were largest in the (early) mornings and early evenings for boys; no compensation in at-home activity occurred later in the day. On days when children were in care part-time (1–5 h) or full-time (>5 h), they were significantly less sedentary and more active compared with non-care days. Conclusions Young children, and particularly boys, accumulate more MVPA in care compared to at home. Future research should identify factors accounting for this difference and consider targeting non-care time in intervention efforts to increase higher-intensity activity and decrease sedentary time in preschoolers.

Type: Article
Title: UK Preschool-aged children’s physical activity levels in childcare and at home: a cross-sectional exploration
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12966-015-0286-1
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-015-0286-1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Hesketh et al. Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Physical activity; Preschool children; Childcare; Home environment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471601
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