Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The difference in physical activity levels and attention in preschool children before and after free play recess and structured play recess
by Williamson, Megan L., Ph.D., Kent State University, 2013, 71; 3618843
Abstract (Summary)

Childhood obesity rates have increased three-fold since 1980 and up to 80% of obese children become obese adults. Since young children are forming habits that they will carry with them into adulthood, preschool represents an ideal setting to instill proper physical activity habits. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to assess the amount of physical activity in preschool children during three different recess conditions on separate days: free play, structured play and a control (non-active) condition.

Physical activity levels were measured in preschool children (N = 22) during three, 30-minute recess conditions; control, structured play recess, and free play recess. Children wore accelerometers for the duration the school day (165 minutes) for three days. Accelerometer counts during the recess sessions and for the entire school day were recorded. Each recess condition was completed on a separate day, but all during the same week. After all three recess conditions had been completed; the child was asked which recess period they preferred.

Children accumulated significantly (p = 0.001) more accelerometer counts during recess and for the entire school day in the free play (570 ± 460 counts.min-1 at recess; 632 ± 232 counts.min-1 during school day) and structured (1,416 ± 448 counts.min-1 at recess; 629 ± 200 counts.min-1 during school day) recess conditions versus the control condition (570 ± 460 counts.min -1 at recess; 462 ± 200 counts.min-1 during school day). Accelerometer counts during recess and for the entire school day were not different (p = 0.9) between the free play and structured recess conditions. All children indicated that they preferred either the structured play (55%) or free play (45%) recess conditions over the control recess condition.

Presently both a structured play and free play recess condition were equally successful in increasing physical activity behavior and were preferred versus a non-active recess condition. Providing pre-school children with the opportunity to be physically active during recess successfully increases physical activity during the school day and is preferable to a sedentary recess.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barkley, Jacob
Commitee: Glickman, Ellen, Mitchell, Stephen, Ridgel, Angela
School: Kent State University
Department: Health Sciences
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Early childhood education, Kinesiology, Physiology
Keywords: Accelerometry, Physical activity, Young children
Publication Number: 3618843
ISBN: 978-1-303-87361-4
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