Physical activity and motor skills in overweight and normal weight low income preschool children

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2008-01-01
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Wulfekuhle, Allison
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Katherine T. Thomas
Richard Engelhorn
Jerry R. Thomas
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Kinesiology
The Department of Kinesiology seeks to provide an ample knowledge of physical activity and active living to students both within and outside of the program; by providing knowledge of the role of movement and physical activity throughout the lifespan, it seeks to improve the lives of all members of the community. Its options for students enrolled in the department include: Athletic Training; Community and Public Health; Exercise Sciences; Pre-Health Professions; and Physical Education Teacher Licensure. The Department of Physical Education was founded in 1974 from the merger of the Department of Physical Education for Men and the Department of Physical Education for Women. In 1981 its name changed to the Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies. In 1993 its name changed to the Department of Health and Human Performance. In 2007 its name changed to the Department of Kinesiology. Dates of Existence: 1974-present. Historical Names: Department of Physical Education (1974-1981), Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies (1981-1993), Department of Health and Human Performance (1993-2007). Related Units: College of Human Sciences (parent college), College of Education (parent college, 1974 - 2005), Department of Physical Education for Women (predecessor) Department of Physical Education for Men
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Overweight among preschool age children has increased at a rapid rate and is becoming a worldwide epidemic. Previous research suggests that overweight children are less active and have poorer motor skills than children of normal weight. The objective of this study was to assess motor skill and physical activity in low-income overweight and normal weight preschool children (ages 3--5 years) and determine the influence, if any, preschool activity policy had on children's activity levels.;Data were collected at low-income preschool centers (n = 5) in the state of Iowa. Children (n = 77) ages three to four years were included in the sample. A sub sample was created of normal weight (n = 21) and overweight (n = 25) children based on CDC BMI percentile. Assessment of body composition (skinfold measurements), physical activity levels (accelerometer counts and observed intensity) and motor skill competency (TGMD-2 process assessment and outcome measures) were completed with the sub sample. The preschool center's physical activity policy was also reviewed using a policy checklist and teacher interviews.;One-way ANOVA's for BMI classified weight groups and gender failed to produce significant results for physical activity and motor skill variables. Trends were found in accelerometer counts when groups were based on sum of skinfold measurements rather than BMI. The correlation between BMI percentile and sum of skinfolds was low (r(46) = .42, p = .004) and suggested that over one-third of the children were placed in the wrong weight group (inconsistently classified). Trends were also found in accelerometer counts, observed intensity levels and locomotor TGMD-2 scores when groups were based on agreement between BMI percentile and sum of skinfold. These trends showed small shifts in confidence intervals between groups and small effect sizes. Generally, overweight preschool children appear to have the same activity levels and motor skill proficiency as their normal weight peers as determined by small effect sizes and confidence intervals. Of the inconsistently classified children, those who had high BMI's and low sum of skinfolds were better at locomotor skills that involved power (i.e. run, leap, throw, kick) when compare to children with low BMI's and high sum of skinfolds. There was little variability in the preschool activity policies, and the strength of preschool policy had no effect on children's activity levels or motor skills. Based on these finding, BMI may lack validity as a means of classifying obesity in young children.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008