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J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:326520. doi: 10.1155/2012/326520. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Play equipment, physical activity opportunities, and children's activity levels at childcare.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

This study investigated the association between physical activity facilities at childcare (e.g., play equipment) and physical activity of 2- and 3-year olds. Observations of physical activity intensity were performed among 175 children at 9 childcare centers in The Netherlands, using the OSRAC-P. The physical activity facilities were assessed for indoors and outdoors separately, using the EPAO instrument. Regular (single-level) multivariate and multilevel linear regression analyses examined the association of the facilities and child characteristics (age and sex) with children's activity levels. Various physical activity facilities were available in all childcare centers (e.g., balls). Riding toys and a small playing area were associated with lower indoor physical activity levels. Outdoor physical activity levels were positively associated with the availability of portable jumping equipment and the presence of a structured track on the playground. Portable slides, fixed swinging equipment, and sandboxes were negatively associated with outdoor activity levels. In addition, the 3-year old children were more active outdoors than the 2-year olds. In conclusion, not all physical activity facilities at childcare were indeed positively associated with children's activity levels. The current findings provide concrete leads for childcare providers regarding which factors they can improve in the physical environment to facilitate children's physical activity.

PMID:
22811736
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3395256
Free PMC Article
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