Play Equipment, Physical Activity Opportunities, and Children's Activity Levels at Childcare

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number326520
JournalJournal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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