Presentation Title

Exploring preschool teachers’ physical activity and their impact on children’s physical activity

Presenter Information

John RechFollow

Advisor Information

Danae Dinkel

Location

MBSC Ballroom - Poster #105 - G

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

4-3-2022 10:45 AM

End Date

4-3-2022 12:00 PM

Abstract

Background: In the United States, ~61% of preschool children spend on average 33 hours in non-parental childcare per week. Therefore, preschool teachers have a considerable amount of influence on children’s physical activity (PA), but little research has explored their PA using accelerometers and their potential impact on children’s PA. Objective: The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to explore the daily PA levels and practices of preschool teachers and how this may affect the PA of preschool children (3-6 years) in their care. Methods: Four out of five preschool teachers (all female) and 10 (seven boys) out of 28 children from three classrooms at a preschool in a Midwestern city participated in this study. Teachers wore an Actigraph GT9x accelerometer on their wrist for seven consecutive days. Direct observations of the indoor classrooms and outdoor playgrounds were conducted for three consecutive days during the morning hours (~10 total hours per classroom). The System of Observing Staff Promotion of Activity and Nutrition (SOSPAN) was used to assess teachers’ promotion of PA. The Observation System for Recording Physical Activity in Children-Preschool (OSRAC-P) was used to observe children’s PA. After all other data collections, teachers completed a brief (~15 minutes) semi-structured interview to assess their attitudes and behaviors of PA. Averages and standard deviations of daily PA by intensity level and percentage of daily time teachers were physically active during and outside of work were calculated. A direct content analysis approach was used to assess qualitative data. Results: On average, teachers accumulated 144.3 ± 57.3 minutes of moderate PA and 263.3 ± 27.3 minutes of light PA per workday. This accounted for 78.1% of their time at work and 65.2% of their total daily PA during the weekdays. Direct observation revealed that despite indoor and outdoor time mostly dedicated to free play, children mostly engaged in low intensity activities (e.g., play while stationary, light movement) and teachers’ interactions with students varied when indoors and outdoors. Teachers reported engaging in little leisure-time PA (LTPA) due to a lack of time and energy. Teachers stated a lack of space and restrictions due to COVID-19 as a barrier to PA for children while indoors, and weather for outdoors. All teachers believed they had an impact on children’s PA and two thought their impact was greater than parents. Conclusion: Teachers were achieving most of their total daily PA at work. This is important as previous research has shown high rates of occupational PA and low rates of LTPA may cause adverse health effects. There are potential associations between preschool teachers’ and children’s PA, which is supported by qualitative findings in this study. More research is needed to confirm the association between teacher and child PA and the health impacts of high occupational PA among teachers.

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Mar 4th, 10:45 AM Mar 4th, 12:00 PM

Exploring preschool teachers’ physical activity and their impact on children’s physical activity

MBSC Ballroom - Poster #105 - G

Background: In the United States, ~61% of preschool children spend on average 33 hours in non-parental childcare per week. Therefore, preschool teachers have a considerable amount of influence on children’s physical activity (PA), but little research has explored their PA using accelerometers and their potential impact on children’s PA. Objective: The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to explore the daily PA levels and practices of preschool teachers and how this may affect the PA of preschool children (3-6 years) in their care. Methods: Four out of five preschool teachers (all female) and 10 (seven boys) out of 28 children from three classrooms at a preschool in a Midwestern city participated in this study. Teachers wore an Actigraph GT9x accelerometer on their wrist for seven consecutive days. Direct observations of the indoor classrooms and outdoor playgrounds were conducted for three consecutive days during the morning hours (~10 total hours per classroom). The System of Observing Staff Promotion of Activity and Nutrition (SOSPAN) was used to assess teachers’ promotion of PA. The Observation System for Recording Physical Activity in Children-Preschool (OSRAC-P) was used to observe children’s PA. After all other data collections, teachers completed a brief (~15 minutes) semi-structured interview to assess their attitudes and behaviors of PA. Averages and standard deviations of daily PA by intensity level and percentage of daily time teachers were physically active during and outside of work were calculated. A direct content analysis approach was used to assess qualitative data. Results: On average, teachers accumulated 144.3 ± 57.3 minutes of moderate PA and 263.3 ± 27.3 minutes of light PA per workday. This accounted for 78.1% of their time at work and 65.2% of their total daily PA during the weekdays. Direct observation revealed that despite indoor and outdoor time mostly dedicated to free play, children mostly engaged in low intensity activities (e.g., play while stationary, light movement) and teachers’ interactions with students varied when indoors and outdoors. Teachers reported engaging in little leisure-time PA (LTPA) due to a lack of time and energy. Teachers stated a lack of space and restrictions due to COVID-19 as a barrier to PA for children while indoors, and weather for outdoors. All teachers believed they had an impact on children’s PA and two thought their impact was greater than parents. Conclusion: Teachers were achieving most of their total daily PA at work. This is important as previous research has shown high rates of occupational PA and low rates of LTPA may cause adverse health effects. There are potential associations between preschool teachers’ and children’s PA, which is supported by qualitative findings in this study. More research is needed to confirm the association between teacher and child PA and the health impacts of high occupational PA among teachers.