Design and baseline characteristics of the Short bouTs of Exercise for Preschoolers (STEP) study

Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003-9258, USA.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.26). 08/2012; 12(1, article 582):582. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-582
Source: PubMed


Most preschool centers provide two 30-min sessions of gross-motor/outdoor playtime per preschool day. Within this time frame, children accumulate most of their activity within the first 10 min. This paper describes the design and baseline participant characteristics of the Short bouTs of Exercise for Preschoolers (STEP) study. The STEP study is a cluster randomized controlled study designed to examine the effects of short bouts of structured physical activity (SBS-PA) implemented within the classroom setting as part of designated gross-motor playtime on during-school physical activity (PA) in preschoolers.
Ten preschool centers serving low-income families were randomized into SBS-PA versus unstructured PA (UPA). SBS-PA schools were asked to implement age-appropriate 10 min structured PA routines within the classroom setting, twice daily, followed by 20 min of usual unstructured playtime. UPA intervention consisted of 30 min of supervised unstructured free playtime twice daily. Interventions were implemented during the morning and afternoon designated gross-motor playtime for 30 min/session, five days/week for six months. Outcome measures were between group difference in during-preschool PA (accelerometers and direct observation) over six-months. Ten preschool centers, representing 34 classrooms and 315 children, enrolled in the study. The average age and BMI percentile for the participants was 4.1 ± 0.8 years and 69th percentile, respectively. Participants spent 74% and 6% of their preschool day engaged in sedentary and MVPA, respectively.
Results from the STEP intervention could provide evidence that a PA policy that exposes preschoolers to shorter bouts of structured PA throughout the preschool day could potentially increase preschoolers' PA levels.

Download full-text


Available from: Melicia C Whitt-Glover
  • Source
    • "Eveline et al. [15] showed that preschool children are, on average, engaged for half of the time in sedentary behaviors even in structured PE lessons, whereas Gordon et al. [16] detected that outdoor activity and incorporated unstructured activity had a great effect on moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA). Another study suggests that preschoolers' PA could potentially be increased by shorter bouts of structured PA throughout the preschool day [17]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Physical activity (PA) in preschoolers is vital to protect against obesity but is influenced by different early-life factors. The present study investigated the impact of different preschool programs and selected family factors on preschoolers' PA in different countries in an explorative way. Methods: The PA of 114 children (age = 5.3 ± 0.65 years) attending different preschool settings in four cities of the trinational Upper Rhine region (Freiburg, Landau/Germany, Basel/Switzerland, and Strasbourg/France) was measured by direct accelerometry. Anthropometrical and family-related data were obtained. Timetables of preschools were analyzed. Results: Comparing the preschool settings, children from Strasbourg and Landau were significantly more passive than children from Basel and Freiburg (P < .01). With regard to the family context as an important early-life factor, a higher number of children in a family along with the mother's and child's anthropometrical status are predictors of engagement in PA. Conclusion: More open preschool systems such as those in Basel, Freiburg, and Landau do not lead to more PA "per se" compared to the highly regimented desk-based system in France. Preliminaries such as special training and the number of caregivers might be necessary elements to enhance PA. In family contexts, targeted PA interventions for special groups should be more focused in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of obesity
  • Source
    • "In addition, other studies including older children focused mainly on one component of lifestyle (e.g. diet or physical activity) [8,11,15,19-31], and very few adopted a multicomponent approach to children’s health promotion, including the influence of the children’s environment [8,15,25,32]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Unhealthy lifestyles contribute to the development of cardiovascular risk factors, whose incidence is increasing among children and adolescents. The Program SI! is a long-term, multi-target behavioral intervention to promote healthy lifestyle habits in children through the school environment. The objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of this intervention in its first phase, preschoolers. Cluster-randomized controlled trial in public schools in the city of Madrid, Spain. A total 24 schools, including 2062 children (3-5 years), 1949 families, and 125 teachers participate in the study. Schools were assigned to their usual school curriculum or to engage in an additional multi-component intervention (Program SI!). The primary outcome of this trial is 1-school year changes from baseline in scores for children's knowledge, attitudes and habits (KAH). Secondary outcomes are 1-school year changes from baseline in scores for knowledge, attitudes, and habits among parents, teachers, and the school environment. After 1-school year, our results indicate that the Program SI! intervention increases children's KAH scores, both overall (3.45, 95%CI, 1.84-5.05) and component-specific (Diet: 0.93, 95%CI, 0.12-1.75; Physical activity: 1.93, 95%CI, 1.17-2.69; Human body: 0.65, 95%CI, 0.07-1.24) score. The Program SI! is demonstrated as an effective and feasible strategy for increasing knowledge and improving lifestyle attitudes and habits among very young children.Trial registration: NCT01579708, Evaluation of the Program SI! for Preschool Education: A School-Based Randomized Controlled Trial (Preschool-SI!).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · BMC Public Health
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Preschoolers' (n = 31) physical activity (PA) levels during indoor and outdoor childcare hours were explored using accelerometers. Participants engaged in 0.54 min/h (SD = 0.59) of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and 14.42 min/h (SD = 6.78) of total PA (TPA) indoors compared with 5.03 min/h (SD = 4.92) of MVPA and 31.68 min/h (SD = 0.83) of TPA outdoors. Boys and girls engaged in significantly more TPA outdoors; however, only boys demonstrated a significant increase in MVPA outdoors.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism
Show more