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The physical activity levels of preschool-aged children: A systematic review

Summary


Many preschoolers do not achieve recommended physical activity levels

Tucker reviews 39 studies published between 1986 and 2007 on the physical activity levels of preschool-aged children. She reviews the literature in terms of guidelines put forth by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, which recommends that preschool children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity and up to several hours of unstructured play each day. In examining the literature, Tucker found that almost half of preschool-aged children do not engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Importantly, she notes that this is a conservative estimate as it does not include information on unstructured play. In addition, Tucker found that male children were more active than female children. In concluding her review, she identifies the need for interventions that support physical activity, especially in females, and more uniform assessment and reporting methods to facilitate understanding and comparison across studies. Tucker also highlights the important role of early childhood educators, parents, and teachers in promoting children’s healthy physical activity levels.

Citation

Tucker, P., (2008). The physical activity levels of preschool-aged children: A systematic review. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(4), 547-558.

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