Article

Effects of Child Care Policy and Environment on Physical Activity

Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97333, USA.
Medicine and science in sports and exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 03/2010; 42(3):520-5. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cea3ef
Source: PubMed

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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    • "An overall physical activity environment score (possible range 0–160, higher score indicates more supportive environment) was also calculated for each setting ('EPAO score'). Additional exposure variables were chosen based on prior evidence (Trost et al., 2010). The average time staff had spent at the setting and as a childcare provider was taken from the questionnaire completed by each carer and used to calculate averages for each setting. "
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    ABSTRACT: Features of the childcare environment may influence children's in-care physical activity (PA). We assessed the association between UK preschool care-provider, environmental and policy factors and 3–4-year-olds' average daily in-care sedentary behaviour (SED) and PA.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2016
    • "In this paper we concentrate on the physical environment's influence. Previous studies on playgrounds have shown that access to equipment, the size of the outdoor area, access to open spaces, and access to natural elements such as trees and shrubbery matter (Boldemann et al. 2011; Fjørtoft 2004; Hannon and Brown 2008; Maxwell, Mitchell and Evans 2008; Mårtensson 2004; Nielsen et al. 2012; Smith et al. 2014; Trost, Ward and Senso 2010; Woolley and Lowe 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Based on qualitative data gathered from observations, we investigate what opportunities for physical activity kindergarten children utilize in outdoor areas that are manmade and contain only artificial playground equipment. The findings show that much self-chosen physical activity play took place in the outdoor area. Open surfaces are utilized in games that include walking and running. Places with graspable holds and standable steps are popular climbing areas. Loose and moveable equipment and substances increase the variety of activity. Based on these findings, we consider the outdoor area to be suitable for the observed 5-year olds with regard to promoting physical activity.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015
    • "In this paper we concentrate on the physical environment's influence. Previous studies on playgrounds have shown that access to equipment, the size of the outdoor area, access to open spaces, and access to natural elements such as trees and shrubbery matter (Boldemann et al. 2011; Fjørtoft 2004; Hannon and Brown 2008; Maxwell, Mitchell and Evans 2008; Mårtensson 2004; Nielsen et al. 2012; Smith et al. 2014; Trost, Ward and Senso 2010; Woolley and Lowe 2013). "

    No preview · Article · Sep 2015
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