Movement behaviours, body mass index, and demographics of toddlers and preschoolers attending Alberta child care centres

  • Author / Creator
    Kuzik, Nicholas, OC
  • The overall objective of this thesis was to quantify levels of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep (movement behaviours), and determine how they are related to body mass index (BMI) in toddlers and preschoolers, while considering the impact of demographic variables. A sample of toddlers (19 to 35 months old) and preschoolers (36 to 60 months old) who attended child care centres in Alberta Canada were used to address the overall objective, within two manuscripts. The first manuscript describes objectively-measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour within child care centres, while examining differences between demographic groups (i.e., child sex, child age group, and parental immigration status). Children spent 7.0% of time engaged in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, and 61.5% of time engaged in sedentary behaviour. Short sedentary bouts (1-4 minutes) were more frequent than longer bouts (≥5 minutes). Additionally, preschoolers were found to be more active, less sedentary, and engage in less frequent sedentary bouts of longer duration (≥10 minutes) compared to toddlers. The second manuscript examines the relationship between movement behaviours, within and outside of child care, with body mass index (BMI) z-scores; while testing if demographic variables moderated this relationship. A higher frequency of the shortest sedentary bouts (1-4 minutes) during child care was associated with a lower BMI z-score, after adjusting for demographic variables. No moderation effects were observed. The findings within this thesis can help guide future research, and begin to inform future interventions, and public health initiatives. The limited physical activity levels, in particular moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, and predominantly sedentary behaviour levels observed, indicate interventions/initiatives that promote healthy movement behaviours in this age group may be needed. The negative relationship observed between frequency of short sedentary bouts and BMI z-scores indicate that breaking up sedentary behaviour into short sedentary bouts may be an important intervention target. Future longitudinal and experimental research is needed to confirm and build on this research in an effort to promote healthy growth and development in our youngest children.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.