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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60619. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060619. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Physical activity in 3-6 year old children measured by SenseWear Pro®: direct accelerometry in the course of the week and relation to weight status, media consumption, and socioeconomic factors.

Author information

  • 1Integrated Research and Treatment Center, IFB, Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Data on objectively measured physical activity (PA) in preschoolers are controversial. Direct accelerometry was performed in children aged 3-6 years, and differences in PA patterns over the course of the week were evaluated. Data were analyzed with gender, BMI, lifestyle, and socioeconomic parameters as covariates.

METHODS:

PA was measured in 119 children by the SensewearPro® accelerometer and analyzed in the 92 (40 girls) that wore it for at least 4 days including one day of the weekend. Median measuring time in this group was 7 consecutive days (median/mean daily measuring time: 23.5 h/d and 21.8 h/d, respectively), corresponding to 834,000 analyzed minutes. PA questionnaires were completed by 103 parents and 87 preschool teachers to collect anthropometric, lifestyle, and socioeconomic data.

RESULTS:

Median daily PA (MET>3) was 4.3 hours (mean: 4.4 hours). Boys spent an estimated 52 min/week more being very active (MET>6) than girls (95% CI [6, 96] min/week, p = 0.02). PA was lower during the weekend (3.7 h/d) compared to weekdays (4.5 h/d), p = 3 × 10(-6)), where a 95% CI for the difference is [0.5, 1.0] h/d. PA levels did not differ between overweight/obese children (median 4.7 h/d) and normal-weight peers (median 4.2 h/d). Daily media consumption increased with decreasing social class on weekdays (p = 0.05) and during the weekend (p = 0.01), but was not related to the amount of daily PA. A multivariate regression with BMI-SDS as independent variable and gender, age, amount of PA>6 MET, parental BMI, media time and socioeconomic status as explanatory variables revealed that only SES had a significant contribution.

CONCLUSION:

The negative impact of obesity-promoting factors in older children is rather low for preschoolers, but there is evidently a gradient in PA between weekdays and weekends already in this age group. Weight status of preschoolers is already considerably influenced by SES, but not physical activity levels.

PMID:
23573273
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3616118
Free PMC Article

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