Publication Details

Mickle, K. Julie., Cliff, D. P., Munro, B. J., Okely, A. D. & Steele, J. R. (2011). Relationship between plantar pressures, physical activity and sedentariness among preschool children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14 (1), 36-41.


It has been speculated that high plantar pressures might cause foot pain and discomfort which, in turn, may discourage children from being physically active and result in them spending more time in sedentary activities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether plantar pressure distributions generated by preschool children were correlated with objectively measured time spent in physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Dynamic plantar pressures were measured for 33 preschool children (age = 4.3±0.6 years; height = 1.06±0.1 m; mass = 18.4±2.9 kg; 17 boys) as they walked across an emed AT-4 pressure platform. Physical activity was objectively assessed using MT ActiGraph accelerometers. Total physical activity (counts per minute), percentage of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light activity and sedentary behaviour were then calculated. Peak pressures across the heel were found to significantly correlate with total physical activity (r =−0.53; p = 0.03) and time in MVPA (r =−0.47; p = 0.05) in boys. Similarly, the correlation data suggested that girls who generated higher peak pressures in the toe region spent more time in sedentary behaviour (r = 0.53; p = 0.04). As high plantar pressures appear to be a potential negative correlate of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, it is recommended that further research be conducted to design, test and evaluate the potential of interventions to reduce plantar pressures in inactive children so they can enjoy the benefits associated with participating in a more active lifestyle.



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