Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Prevalence of Compliance with a New Physical Activity Guideline for Preschool-Age Children

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Prevalence of Compliance with a New Physical Activity Guideline for Preschool-Age Children

Article excerpt

[Author Affiliation]

Russell R. Pate. 1 Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Jennifer R. O'Neill. 1 Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

William H. Brown. 2 Department of Educational Studies, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Karin A. Pfeiffer. 3 Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Marsha Dowda. 1 Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Cheryl L. Addy. 4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Address correspondence to: Russell R. Pate, PhD, Professor, Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly Street, Suite 212, Columbia, SC 29208, E-mail: rpate@mailbox.sc.edu

Introduction

Obesity rates have increased in all segments of the US population, including children of preschool age. Currently, 22.8% of US children ages 2-5 years are overweight or obese (≥85th percentile).1 Though the reasons for this alarming trend are not certain, expert panels have suggested consistently that declining physical activity (PA) is likely an important contributor.2,3

Recommendations regarding the type and amount of PA young children should obtain have been highly variable, and organizations have issued very divergent PA guidelines.4,5 Recently, however, four independent expert panels from four different countries (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States) issued PA recommendations for young children that are quite similar.3,6-8 Although these new guidelines are expressed differently, they recommend the same amount of daily PA for children 3-5 years of age: 3 hours of total PA per day.9 The guideline from a US-based organization, the Institute of Medicine (IOM),3 recommends that child care centers provide preschoolers with "opportunities for light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity for at least 15 minutes per hour while children are in care." If extrapolated to 12 waking hours, this guideline equates to the same number of hours of total PA per day recommended by the guidelines issued in the other countries.

Few studies have examined the prevalence of young children meeting PA recommendations,10-14 and none have determined the prevalence of young American children meeting this new PA guideline. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to determine the rates of compliance with a new PA guideline in two independent samples of preschool children, using PA measured objectively with accelerometry.

Methods

Study Design and Participants

Cross-sectional analyses were performed in two independent samples of preschool-age children. Participants in the first sample were enrolled in the Children's Activity and Movement in Preschool Study (CHAMPS), an observational study of 3- to 5-year-old children attending preschools in or near Columbia, South Carolina. Twenty-two preschools participated in the study, including commercial (n=11), faith-based (n=7), and federally supported Head Start programs (n=4). Data were collected at each preschool during two data collection waves of 2 weeks' duration each, separated by 13-19 months. The CHAMPS sample consisted of 286 children. Data were collected from August 2004 to January 2006; data from both waves were used. Participants in the second sample were enrolled in the Study of Health and Activity in Preschool Environments (SHAPES), a 3-year intervention study designed to increase PA and decrease sedentary behavior in preschool children. SHAPES was conducted in 16 preschools (eight public and eight private preschools) in or near Columbia, South Carolina. …

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