Improving physical activity in daycare interventions

Marc Bonis, LSU Health Science Center - New Orleans
Mark Loftin
Dianne Ward
Tung Sung Tseng
Ann Clesi
Melinda Sothern


BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to objectively determine whether the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) program improved physical activity levels during the school day. METHODS: The study compared the physical activity levels of subjects from 26 daycare centers, randomized into treatment (N=13) and control (N=13) groups. The subjects were 3 to 5 year olds (N=209, 104 males and 105 females; age [years]=3.85±0.8 [mean±standard deviation]), and accelerometry was used to determine the subjects' physical activity levels. Accelerometers were attached to each subject for 2 days before and immediately after a 6-month intervention. Height, mass, and waist were also measured. RESULTS: Regression analyses indicated that the treatment group demonstrated significant increases in moderate and vigorous physical activity, as compared to the control group (F(1, 207)=6.3, p<0.05, Cohen's d=0.30; F(1, 207)=4.7, p<0.05, Cohen's d=0.25, respectively). The treatment group also showed significant increases in total physical activity (F(1, 218)=12.4; p<0.05) from pre- to post-test with significant increases in moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity (F(1, 218)=18.6, p<0.05; F(1, 218)=23.3, p<0.05, respectively). Regression analyses revealed significant increases in height for both groups from pre- to post-tests, but no differences were noted between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the NAP SACC program in treatment daycare facilities resulted in significant increases in objectively measured physical activity levels, compared to the control group, demonstrating physical activity improvement in the treatment daycare centers.