Research Study Abstract

Physical Activity in Preschool Children

  • Added on November 8, 2010

Purpose The aims of this study were (i) to determine Physical Activity (PA) patterns in preschool children with accelerometry in between gender and, (ii) to analyse discrepancy in the PA patterns using different epochs.

Methods 45 Portuguese preschool children (25 girls, 20 boys) between the ages of 3 and 5 participated in the pilot study regarding PA patterns in preschool children. PA was assessed with accelerometers (MTI actigraph) during the school hours, for five consecutive days. Epochs were set at 5 seconds. PA was expressed as mean counts per minute during 5 days. The following categories were analyse: sedentary PA, light PA, Moderate and Vigorous PA (MVPA), according to age-specific cut-off points recommended by Sirard et al. (2005) and using MahUffe analyzer (version Accelerometer data was first analyzed with a 5 seconds epoch, a secondary analysis was done with an epoch of 60 seconds. T-Test was used to assess differences between genders and within each gender differences between mean MVPA with 5 and 60 seconds epochs.

Results With a 5 seconds epoch, girls were, on average, less active than boys (mean=26.72 counts per minute during 5 days of MVPA, 95% CI: 23.11 – 30.33 for girls vs mean=29.69 counts per minute during 5 days of MVPA; 95% CI: 25.01-34.37 for boys) albeit without statistical significance (p>0.05). The same tendency occurred with a 60 seconds epoch (mean=9.42 counts per minute during 5 days of MVPA, 95% CI: 6.33 – 12.50 for girls vs mean=12.33 counts per minute during 5 days of MVPA, 95% CI: 7.70 -16.96 for boys; p>0.05). In girls as well as in boys the average counts per minute of MVPA was much higher with a 5 seconds epoch than with a 60 seconds epoch (p<0.001).

Conclusions In Preschool Children gender differences in mean counts per minute during 5 days of MVPA were not significant. The use of an epoch of 60 seconds, compared to an epoch of 5 seconds, underestimated MVPA, in this children.