Objectives. Obesity rates are increasing among children of all ages, and reduced physical activity is a likely contributor to this trend. Little is known about the physical activity behavior of preschool-aged children or about the influence of preschool attendance on physical activity. The purpose of this study was to describe the physical activity levels of children while they attend preschools, to identify the demographic factors that might be associated with physical activity among those children, and to determine the extent to which children's physical activity varies among preschools.
Methods. A total of 281 children from 9 preschools wore an Actigraph (Fort Walton Beach, FL) accelerometer for an average of 4.4 hours per day for an average of 6.6 days. Each child's height and weight were measured, and parents of participating children provided demographic and education data.
Results. The preschool that a child attended was a significant predictor of vigorous physical activity (VPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Boys participated in significantly more MVPA and VPA than did girls, and black children participated in more VPA than did white children. Age was not a significant predictor of MVPA or VPA.
Conclusions. Children's physical activity levels were highly variable among preschools, which suggests that preschool policies and practices have an important influence on the overall activity levels of the children the preschools serve.