University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr. Patricia Tucker

Abstract

This study sought to: (1) measure moderate-vigorous physical activity (PA) levels of a sample of preschoolers; (2) assess which attributes (e.g., space, equipment, policies) within centre-based childcare environments influence PA; and, (3) pilot the methodology to ensure the feasibility of undertaking a full-scale study. Thirty-one preschoolers from five childcare centres across London, Canada participated. Actical® accelerometers were worn by participants for one day during childcare hours to assess activity levels using a 15-second epoch length. The Environment and Policy Assessment and Observation instrument was used to conduct a full-day evaluation of the childcare environment. On average, participants engaged in 11.45 minutes of moderate-vigorous PA. Sedentary opportunities, portable and fixed play equipment, and staff behaviour accounted for 57.1% of the variability in moderate-vigorous PA, with sedentary opportunities, fixed play equipment, and staff behaviours displaying an inverse relationship. Results indicate the critical role the childcare environment plays in promoting PA among preschoolers.