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Revista Brasileira de Cineantropometria & Desempenho Humano

On-line version ISSN 1980-0037


BARROS, Simone Storino Honda; LOPES, Adair da Silva  and  BARROS, Mauro Virgilio Gomes de. Prevalence of low physical activity level among preschool children. Rev. bras. cineantropom. desempenho hum. [online]. 2012, vol.14, n.4, pp.390-400. ISSN 1980-0037.

Physical activity (PA) in children has a decisive role in motor development and prevention of childhood obesity. The available evidence suggests that there is high prevalence of low levels of PA in children, but little is known about the level of PA in preschool children. The objective of this study was to identify the prevalence and the factors associated with low levels of PA in preschool children. This was a cross-sectional study performed in private schools in the municipality of Olinda (state of Pernambuco), with data collection through parent's face-to-face interviews. The study included 265 children (54.3% girls) with mean age of 4.9 years (SD=0.8). Children who did not perform at least 60 minutes/day of outdoors physical activities were considered exposed to low levels of PA. Data analysis was performed by logistic regression considering low level of PA as the outcome. The results showed that 65.3% (95%CI: 9.4-70.8) of children were classified as exposed to 'low level of PA'. Analysis showed that higher parental education (OR=2.41; 95%CI: 1.13-5.10), lack of space for playing at home (OR=2.36; 95%CI: 1.17- 4.78), and attending school in the afternoon (OR=2.92, 95%CI 1.55-5.49) or full-time (OR=57.1, 95%CI 6.57-496.2) were associated with low levels of PA. Preschoolers from families with higher number of children had lower likelihood of low level of PA (OR=0.49; 95%CI 0.26-0.93). It can be concluded that the proportion of children exposed to low levels of PA is high compared to the results of similar studies and that parental and environmental factors are associated with physical activity level in preschool-aged children.

Keywords : Epidemiology; Motor activity; Preschool.

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