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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Places where preschoolers are (in)active: An observational study on Latino preschoolers and their parents using objective measures

Author
item Cerin, Ester - Australian Catholic University
item Baranowski, Tom - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Barnett, Anthony - Australian Catholic University
item Butte, Nancy - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Hughes, Sheryl - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Lee, Rebecca - Arizona State University
item Mendoza, Jason - Seattle Children'S Research Institute
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item O'connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2016
Publication Date: 2/29/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/62491
Citation: Cerin, E., Baranowski, T., Barnett, A., Butte, N., Hughes, S., Lee, R.E., Mendoza, J.A., Thompson, D.J., O'Connor, T.M. 2016. Places where preschoolers are (in)active: An observational study on Latino preschoolers and their parents using objective measures. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 13:29.

Interpretive Summary: Latino preschool children are at high risk of being or becoming overweight or obese. Increased physical activity may help protect against excess weight gain, but Latinos may have lower levels of physical activity than other children. It has been suggested that the neighborhoods in which Latino families live may not be conducive for being physically active, but where Latino preschools are physically active has not been established. Identifying where Latino preschoolers are least and most physically active, should help inform interventions to promote greater physical activity for this at-risk group. A cross-sectional study with a purposeful sample of Latino preschool aged children from one urban area in the southwest was conducted. The preschool-aged children wore accelerometers and GPS monitors for one week, and their parents reported on their use of physical activity parenting practices and perceptions of their neighborhood. Seventy-three of 84 children who participated had complete data, including at least 8 hours of accelerometer and GPS data for three or more days. Children had 43% higher odds of being moderately-to-vigorously physically active when outdoors, compared to when indoors. Parent's report of physical activity parenting and perceptions of their neighborhood influenced these results. Children spent the most time being physically active when at a park (30% of their time active), and least time being physically active when in a childcare center, daycare, or school (8% of their time being active). They spent about 12% of their time at home physically active. Only 18% of the children spent any time in a park during the week of measurement. These objective findings suggest that Latino preschoolers' vary the amount of time they spent being physically active in different locations. Interventions and policies should identify ways to engage Latino preschool-aged children in more physical activity and less sedentary behavior while in childcare, and encourage parents to spend more time with their young children in parks/playgrounds and other safe outdoor places which were associated with more time spent being physically active.

Technical Abstract: To combat the disproportionately higher risk of childhood obesity in Latino preschool-aged children, multilevel interventions targeting physical (in)activity are needed. These require the identification of environmental and psychosocial determinants of physical (in)activity for this ethnic group. The objectives were to examine differences in objectively-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior across objectively-determined types of locations in Latino preschool-aged children; and determine whether the differences in physical activity by location were greater in children of parents with higher neighborhood-safety perceptions and physical activity-supportive parenting practices. An observational field study was conducted in Houston (Texas, USA) from August 2011 to April 2012. A purposive sample of Latino children aged 3–5 years and one of their parents (n = 84) were recruited from Census block groups in Houston (Texas) stratified by objectively-assessed high vs. low traffic and crime safety. Seventy-three children provided valid data. Time spent outdoors/indoors tagged with geographic locations was coded into location types based on objective data collected using Global Positioning Systems units that children wore >8 hr/day for a week. Physical activity parenting practices, perceived neighborhood-safety, and demographics were reported by parents. Time spent in sedentary behavior and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was measured based on objective data collected using accelerometers (motion sensors) that children wore >8 hr/day for a week. The odds of children engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were 43% higher when outdoors than indoors (95% confidence interval: 1.30, 1.58), and the odds of being sedentary were 14% lower when outdoors compared to indoors (95% confidence intervals: 0.81, 0.91). This difference depended on parental neighborhood-safety perceptions and parenting practices. Children were most active in parks/playgrounds (30% of the time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity) and least active in childcare/school settings (8% of the time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity). Objectively-assessed time spent in specific locations is correlated with physical activity and sedentary behavior in Latino preschoolers. Interventions and policies should identify ways to engage Latino preschool-aged children in more physical activity and less sedentary behavior while in childcare, and encourage parents to spend more time with their young children in parks/playgrounds and other safe outdoor places.