The contribution of preschool playground factors in explaining children’s physical activity during recess
Cardon, Greet Van Cauwenberghe, Eveline Labarque, Valery Haerens, Leen De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse
International Congress of Physical Activity and Public Health edition:2 location:Amsterdam, Nederland date:13-16 April 2008
Study purpose: Low levels of physical activity are characteristic in preschoolers. To effectively promote physical activity, it is necessary to understand factors that influence young childrenâ€™s physical activity. The present study aimed to investigate how physical activity levels are influenced by environmental factors during recess in preschool. Methods: Preschool playground observations and pedometry during recess were carried out in 39 randomly selected preschools (415 boys and 368 girls; 5.3 Â± 0.4 years old). In order to examine the contribution of playground variables to physical activity levels, taking adjustment for clustering of subjects within preschools into account, multilevel analyses were conducted. Results: During recess boys took significantly more steps per minute than girls (65 Â± 36 versus 54 Â± 28 steps/min). In both genders step counts per minute were significantly associated with the number of children per m2, with the number of supervising teachers, and with recess duration. Only in boys physical activity levels were associated with ground surface characteristics, with playground markings and with the number of aiming equipments. In girls step counts were associated with vegetation characteristics and with the presence of height differences. Acces to toys and play equipment were no significant physical activity predictors. Conclusion: In preschool children physical activity during outdoor play is associated with modifiable playground factors. Studying the effects of intervening on these factors is recommended.