Effects of child care policy and environment on physical activity.
ABSTRACT Child care centers differ systematically with respect to the quality and quantity of physical activity they provide, suggesting that center-level policies and practices, as well as the center's physical environment, are important influences on children's physical activity behavior.
To summarize and critically evaluate the extant peer-reviewed literature on the influence of child care policy and environment on physical activity in preschool-aged children.
A computer database search identified seven relevant studies that were categorized into three broad areas: cross-sectional studies investigating the impact of selected center-level policies and practices on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), studies correlating specific attributes of the outdoor play environment with the level and intensity of MVPA, and studies in which a specific center-level policy or environmental attribute was experimentally manipulated and evaluated for changes in MVPA.
Staff education and training, as well as staff behavior on the playground, seem to be salient influences on MVPA in preschoolers. Lower playground density (less children per square meter) and the presence of vegetation and open play areas also seem to be positive influences on MVPA. However, not all studies found these attributes to be significant. The availability and quality of portable play equipment, not the amount or type of fixed play equipment, significantly influenced MVPA levels.
Emerging evidence suggests that several policy and environmental factors contribute to the marked between-center variability in physical activity and sedentary behavior. Intervention studies targeting these factors are thus warranted.
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ABSTRACT: Motor competence and physical activity (PA) patterns are established during the early childhood years. Early childhood education (ECE) settings are an important context for children’s engagement in physically active play. This paper reports the findings from an online survey examining resources, spaces and affordances for PA and risk-taking in outdoor play provision at 245 ECE centres across Australia. Centres were generally well resourced to promote physical play and provide a diverse range of experiences that support PA and motor development, although varied in terms of opportunities for risk-taking in play. Most respondents believed the environment at their centres supported children’s engagement in moderate to vigorous PA, however, regulatory restrictions relating to recommended height limits on climbing apparatus and having insufficient space were identified as factors limiting opportunities for challenging, physically active play. Outdoor space and teacher support are identified as important factors in childhood settings to promote PA and risk-taking. The emphasis on outdoor environments as a mediator of physically active play should be beneficial in directing limited resources to the provision of environments that are most likely to produce positive PA outcomes.Early Childhood Education Journal 01/2014; 43(4). DOI:10.1007/s10643-014-0667-0
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ABSTRACT: As children now spend increasing amounts of time in out-of-home care, care providers play an important role in promoting positive health behaviors. Little is currently known about providers' perceptions and beliefs about physical activity, particularly for very young children. This study describes providers' perceptions and beliefs about infants' and toddlers' physical activity, and assesses their knowledge of physical activity guidelines, to establish if and where providers may need support to promote physical activity in child care settings. We analyzed baseline data from a pilot randomized-controlled trial conducted in 32 child care centers in Massachusetts, USA. Providers completed physical activity-related questionnaires from which we compared twenty perception and belief questions for infant and toddler care providers. 203 care providers (96% female, mean ± SD age: 32.7 ± 11.2 years) from 29 centers completed questionnaires. A large proportion of providers (n = 114 (61.9%)) believed that infants should be active for 45 minutes or less each day, and only 56 providers (29.7%) perceived toddlers to require more than 90 minutes of activity per day. 97% of providers perceived it was their job to ensure children engaged in a healthy amount of physical activity and most (94.1%) perceived physical activity to be important to own their health, despite 13.3% finding it hard to find the energy to be physically active. This study is the first to assess the physical activity perceptions and attitudes of providers caring for infants and toddlers. Though all providers believed toddlers should engage in more physical activity than infants, most providers believed that young children require only a short amount of physical activity each day, below recommended guidelines. How provider perceptions influence children's physical activity behavior requires investigation.BMC Public Health 12/2015; 15(1). DOI:10.1186/s12889-015-1477-z · 2.32 Impact Factor
Das Gesundheitswesen 08/2012; 74(08/09). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1322105 · 0.62 Impact Factor