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J Sci Med Sport. 2013 Sep;16(5):422-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.11.883. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

The impact of a teacher-led structured physical activity session on preschoolers' sedentary and physical activity levels.

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  • 1Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.



The purpose of this observational study was to examine differences in preschoolers' sedentary time and physical activity (PA) participation between preschool-attending weekdays with and without a teacher-led structured PA session.


A sample of 200 preschoolers (5.3±0.4y; 113 boys) from 26 preschools in Flanders, Belgium were included in data analysis.


Participants wore a GT1M ActiGraph accelerometer on one preschool-attending weekday with and on one preschool-attending weekday without the provision of a teacher-led structured PA session. Preschoolers' sedentary time, light PA, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the time in preschool (08:00-16:00h) and after preschool (16:00-20:00h) were estimated. To assess differences in the outcome measures between both days, multi-level linear regression models were conducted.


During the time at preschool, lower sedentary levels (β=13.0min; SE=1.6; p<0.001) and higher light PA (β=2.9min; SE=0.7 p<0.001) and MVPA levels (β=10.1min; SE=1.1; p<0.001) were prevalent on days with a structured PA session compared to days without a structured PA session in both boys and girls. After preschool, no differences were found between both days in sedentary time (β=0.7; SE=1.4; p>0.05), light PA (β=0.3; SE=0.5; p>0.05), and MVPA (β=0.3; SE=0.9; p>0.05).


The results demonstrate that no compensatory changes were found after preschool for the structured PA session during the preschool hours. Therefore, a teacher-led structured PA session integrated in the preschool curriculum is a promising mean to decrease sedentary time and to increase PA in preschool-aged boys and girls.

Copyright © 2012 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Accelerometer; Health promotion; Motor activity; Physical education and training; Preschool; Preschool child

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