International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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Background: Many preschoolers spend a substantial portion of their day enrolled in centre-based childcare; the amounts of physical activity and sedentary time accumulated in this environment are critical to preschoolers' ability to meet movement guidelines. The purpose of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive overview of the objectively assessed physical activity and sedentary time of preschoolers in centre-based childcare (registration no. CRD42016033502). Methods: Eight online databases were searched using terms related to physical activity, sedentary time, preschoolers and centre-based childcare. Published, peer-reviewed primary studies written in English that objectively assessed (via accelerometry) the physical activity and sedentary time of preschoolers (2-5 years) in centre-based childcare were included. Results: Fifty-five studies (published 2004-2017) from 11 countries, representing 13,956 participants were included. Studies reported light physical activity (n=38) ranging from 2.94 to 29.96 mins/hr, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (n=46) which ranged from 1.29 to 22.66 mins/hr, and total physical activity (n=42) ranging from 4.23 to 47.17 mins/hr. Sedentary time (n=47) ranged from 12.38 to 55.77 mins/hr. Conclusion: Physical activity and sedentary time were highly varied and inconsistent between studies; therefore, it is difficult to determine preschoolers' true amount of physical activity and sedentary time during childcare hours. Despite this variability, preschoolers were noted to participate in high rates of sedentary time in this setting. The lack of homogeneity is an important finding in and of itself as it highlights the lack of consistency in measuring, processing, and reporting paediatric physical activity data.