Attributes of child care centers and outdoor play areas associated with preschoolers' physical activity and sedentary behavior
This study examined characteristics of child care centers associated with preschoolers’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sedentary behavior while in child care (MVPA-C, SB-C), and attributes of outdoor play areas associated with the same behaviors during outdoor time (MVPA-O, SBO). Participants were 89 children (3 -5 years) recruited from 10 child care centers in Brisbane, Australia. Children’s activity was measured by accelerometer over a 3-day period. Center characteristics and outdoor play area attributes were identified through survey and observation. We found that children were mostly sedentary while in child care. Lower child-staff ratios and using indoor play areas for motor activity were associated with more MVPA-C and less SB-C. Fixed play equipment in outdoor areas was conducive to more MVPA-O and less SB-O. This study suggests the possibility of enhancing preschoolers’ activity levels through changing these attributes. Further research with more centers from diverse settings is needed to test these findings.