Online Program

Physical activity practices and environments of child care centers in Georgia

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Introduction: The child care (CC) environment is an important setting for obesity prevention, however little is known about the physical activity (PA) practices in centers. This study assessed the PA environment of 37 CC centers in Georgia. Methods: The Environment and Policy Assessment Observation (EPAO) examined PA practices and environments of 37 CC centers. Scores (out of 20) were computed for eight domains and daily means and frequencies were calculated. Results: The following scores were found for: active play (12.16), sedentary behavior (14.86) and environment (11.89), portable (12.05) and fixed environments (9.19), staff behavior (15.14), PA training and education (9.67), and PA policies (20.00). On average, daily PA minutes observed were: active (64), structured (19), outdoor (46), and sedentary (107). Three centers did not have structured activity; five did not have outdoor play time. Nineteen centers had children seated for more than 30 minutes at a time; TV viewing was observed in 7 centers. No posters, pictures or books depicting PA were observed in 19 centers. The outdoor space of 18 centers was unobstructed with plenty of space for group games. The indoor space of 19 centers was suitable for limited movement. PA education was not observed in 33 centers and documented PA curricula were not observed in 17 centers. Conclusion: Though all centers had PA policies, centers had room for improvement in structured and active play for children, time children spent seated, TV presence and viewing, the availability of PA equipment, adequate space to be active, and PA education.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the growing body of literature examining the physical activity practices and environments of child care centers; discuss low levels of physical activity in child care centers, current recommendations, and strategies to enhance the physical activity environment. Evaluate the physical activity environment using the EPAO instrument. Name areas of the child care environment needing future research for how best to improve practices; characterize areas of the child care environment needing attention from future programs to prevent childhood obesity in the 2-5 age group.

Keyword(s): Obesity, Child Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Lyn is currently Principal Investigator for evaluation of a 39-site program of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning focused on improving physical activity and nutrition in childcare centers. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on obesity prevention. Dr. Lyn has served as Director for Policy Leadership for Active Youth (PLAY), which is aimed at working with statewide partners to connect research to practice to prevention childhood obesity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.