International study of 24-h movement behaviors of early years (SUNRISE): a pilot study from Bangladesh

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Pilot and Feasibility Studies


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep for children under 5 years of age in 2019. In response to these guidelines, this pilot study aimed to (i) determine the proportion of preschool children (ages 3-4 years) who met the WHO guidelines; (ii) examine the feasibility of the proposed protocol for the SUNRISE study; and (iii) assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on movement behaviors of preschool children in Bangladesh. Methods: Time spent in physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep were objectively measured using two types of accelerometers (ActiGraph wGT3x-BT and ActivPAL4). Screen time and sleep quality were assessed via parent questionnaire. Fine and gross motor skills were measured using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (3rd edition). Three executive functions were assessed using the Early Years Toolbox. Focus groups were conducted with parents and childcare staff to determine the feasibility of the protocol. Follow-up data during COVID-19 pandemic was collected from parents over phone. Results: Data from 63 preschool-aged children and their parents was analyzed in this pilot study. Only three children (4.7%) met all components of the WHO guidelines. Separately, children meeting physical activity, sedentary screen time and sleep guidelines were 71.9%, 17.5%, and 59.7% respectively. The proportion of all children who were developmentally on-track for the gross and fine motor skills was 58.7% and 50.8%, respectively. Parents and educators reported that the protocol was feasible except for the activPAL-4 accelerometer. Approximately, 39% of children (14 out of 37) who wore this device developed itchy skin and rashes resulting in the suspension of using this device mid-way through data collection. During COVID-19, there was a significant decrease in children’s total physical activity (− 193 min/day), and time spent outside on weekdays (− 75 min/day) and weekend days (− 131 min/day) and a significant increase in sedentary screen time (+85 min/day). Conclusion: Only a low proportion of children met the WHO guidelines. Methods and devices (except ActivPAL4) used in this pilot study proved to be feasible and this has paved the way to conduct the main SUNRISE study in Bangladesh. Future measures should be taken to address the issue of movement behaviors of children during the time of pandemics like COVID-19.

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