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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2009 Jan-Feb;41(1):47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2008.03.004.

Increasing physical activity in preschool: a pilot study to evaluate animal trackers.

Author information

1
Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA. chrisw320@aol.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This report describes a pilot study to evaluate Animal Trackers (AT), a preschool program designed to (1) increase structured physical activity (PA) during the preschool day; (2) increase practice of gross motor skills; (3) provide teachers with an easy-to-use PA program regardless of teacher experience; and (4) implement a teacher walking intervention.

DESIGN:

Pilot observational study in volunteer preschools.

SETTING:

Nine preschools in New Mexico.

PARTICIPANTS:

Two-hundred seventy 3- to 5-year-old children and 32 teachers.

INTERVENTION:

Daily 10-minute classroom activities for children.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Implementation and duration of AT activities, teacher preparation time, and added weekly time spent in structured PA.

ANALYSIS:

Process evaluation to track program implementation, and pre-post measures to assess outcomes.

RESULTS:

AT activities were implemented 4.1 times per week (11.4 minutes/activity), with 7 minutes teacher preparation time. Overall, AT added 47 minutes of structured PA per week for children.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

The AT program increased structured PA time in preschools. Teachers felt that AT was developmentally appropriate; that children enjoyed the activities; and that the children's motor skills improved. Results of the pilot study are encouraging, since research suggests that even small increases in PA could help prevent obesity.

PMID:
19161920
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2008.03.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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