Laura L. Bellows, Patricia L. Davies, Jennifer Anderson, Catherine Kennedy; Effectiveness of a Physical Activity Intervention for Head Start Preschoolers: A Randomized Intervention Study. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(1):28-36. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.005777.
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OBJECTIVES. The level of children’s motor skill proficiency may be an important determinant of their physical activity behaviors. This study assessed the efficacy of an intervention on gross motor skill performance, physical activity, and weight status of preschoolers.
METHOD. The Food Friends: Get Movin’ With Mighty Moves® program was conducted in four Head Start centers. Measurements included the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, pedometer counts, and body mass index (BMI) z scores.
RESULTS. The intervention led to significant changes in gross motor skills in the treatment group (n = 98) compared with the control group (n = 103) and was a strong predictor of overall gross motor performance (gross motor quotient), locomotor, stability, and object manipulation skills. No intervention effect was found for physical activity levels or weight status.
CONCLUSION. The intervention dose was adequate for enhancing gross motor skill performance but not for increasing physical activity levels or reducing BMI.
Occupational therapists can be instrumental in developing and implementing physical activity interventions.
Occupational therapists can provide training and support for teachers and parents to engage children in physical activity throughout the day.
Interdisciplinary teams of professionals working to enhance healthy lifestyles in children should include occupational therapists along with nutrition and exercise specialists.
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