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Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):658-64. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2021. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Compliance with national guidelines for physical activity in U.S. preschoolers: measurement and interpretation.

Author information

1
Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly St, Room 131, Columbia, SC 29208, USA. beets@mailbox.sc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) guidelines for preschoolers recommend 120 minutes of physical activity daily. Two issues, however, create a situation whereby substantial variation in estimated prevalence rates of (in)active preschoolers are reported. First, NASPE guidelines have been interpreted in multiple ways. Second, objective monitoring via accelerometry is the most widely accepted measure of preschoolers' physical activity, yet multiple cut points provide vastly different estimates of physical activity. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of preschoolers meeting NASPE guidelines and illustrate the differences among rates, given guideline interpretations, and cut points.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Three- to 5-year-old children (n = 397) wore ActiGraph accelerometers for an average of 5.9 days. NASPE guidelines were expressed in 3 ways: 120 minutes daily of light-to-vigorous physical activity; 120 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; and 60 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Estimates of 120 minutes daily of light-to-vigorous physical activity, 120 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and 60 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were calculated on the basis of 4 common accelerometer cut points for preschoolers: Pate, Reilly and Puyau, Sirard, and Freedson.

RESULTS:

Prevalence rates varied considerably, with estimates ranging from 13.5% to 99.5%, 0.0% to 95.7%, and 0.5% to 99.5% for 120 minutes daily of light-to-vigorous physical activity, 120 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and 60 minutes daily of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

The variation in NASPE guidelines, coupled with different accelerometer cut points, results in disparate estimates of (in)active preschoolers. This limits the ability to estimate population prevalence levels of physical activity that can be used to guide public health policy. Development of new guidelines should focus on an explicit delineation of physical activity and attempt to standardize the measurement of preschoolers' physical activity.

PMID:
21422082
PMCID:
PMC3387888
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2010-2021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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