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      Relationships between the home environment and physical activity and dietary patterns of preschool children: a cross-sectional study

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To assess relationships between characteristics of the home environment and preschool children's physical activity and dietary patterns.

          Methods

          Homes of 280 preschool children were visited and information obtained by direct observation and parent interview regarding physical and nutritional characteristics of the home environment. Children's physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary patterns were measured using standardised parent-report questionnaires. Associations were analysed using analysis of variance and correlation.

          Results

          Parental physical activity (p = 0.03–0.008), size of backyard (p = 0.001) and amount of outdoor play equipment (p = 0.003) were associated with more outdoor play. Fewer rules about television viewing (p < 0.001) and presence of playstation (p = 0.02) were associated with more indoor sedentary time. Higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with restricting children's access to fruit juice (p = 0.02) and restricting high fat/sugar snacks (p = 0.009). Lower intake of non-core foods was associated with restricting children's access to fruit juice (p = 0.007), cordial/carbonated drinks (p < 0.001) and high fat/sugar snacks (p = 0.003). Lower fruit and vegetable intake was associated with reminding child to 'eat up' (p = 0.007) and offering food rewards to eat main meal (p = 0.04). Higher intake of non-core foods was associated with giving food 'treats' (p = 0.03) and offering food rewards to eat main meal (p = 0.04). The availability of food groups in the home was associated with children's intake of these foods (fruit and vegetables, p < 0.001; fat in dairy, p = <0.001; sweetened beverages, p = 0.004–<0.001; non-core foods, p = 0.01–<0.001).

          Conclusion

          Physical attributes of the home environment and parental behaviours are associated with preschool children's physical activity, sedentary behaviour and dietary patterns. Many of these variables are modifiable and could be targeted in childhood obesity prevention and management.

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          Most cited references46

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          Modern epidemiology

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            Modern Epidemiology

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              Do attributes in the physical environment influence children's physical activity? A review of the literature

              Background Many youth today are physically inactive. Recent attention linking the physical or built environment to physical activity in adults suggests an investigation into the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in children could guide appropriate intervention strategies. Method Thirty three quantitative studies that assessed associations between the physical environment (perceived or objectively measured) and physical activity among children (ages 3 to 18-years) and fulfilled selection criteria were reviewed. Findings were categorized and discussed according to three dimensions of the physical environment including recreational infrastructure, transport infrastructure, and local conditions. Results Results across the various studies showed that children's participation in physical activity is positively associated with publicly provided recreational infrastructure (access to recreational facilities and schools) and transport infrastructure (presence of sidewalks and controlled intersections, access to destinations and public transportation). At the same time, transport infrastructure (number of roads to cross and traffic density/speed) and local conditions (crime, area deprivation) are negatively associated with children's participation in physical activity. Conclusion Results highlight links between the physical environment and children's physical activity. Additional research using a transdisciplinary approach and assessing moderating and mediating variables is necessary to appropriately inform policy efforts.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
                BioMed Central
                1479-5868
                2008
                30 May 2008
                : 5
                : 31
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Australia
                [2 ]Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Australia
                [3 ]Research and Evaluation Unit, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
                Article
                1479-5868-5-31
                10.1186/1479-5868-5-31
                2432071
                18513416
                0b7716e3-1f3c-4b1d-8f65-c786b05bc8fa
                Copyright © 2008 Spurrier et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                Nutrition & Dietetics

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