APE  Vol.5 No.2 , May 2015
Determinants of Physical Activity during Early Childhood: A Systematic Review
Abstract: Physical activity plays an important role for long-term health, and the preschool period is a vital developmental stage to establish healthy habits and behaviors. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies examining the factors related to physical activity in young children. A literature search identifying physical activity studies in 2- to 6-year-old children was conducted in 2014. A total of 102 studies were initially identified, of which only nine met the inclusion criteria of prospective or longitudinal designs using objective measures of physical activity. Gender, aging, and seasonality (e.g. temperature, weather) were the three most common factors examined; followed by parental behaviors and weight status. Preschool- aged children are more physically active in better weather, and if parents, particularly fathers, spend more time playing with their children. Overall, few longitudinal studies have examined predictors of physical activity among young children. Of the limited evidence, it appears that the home environment may be a point for intervention, specifically encouraging parents to engage more with their young children in active pursuits. More longitudinal research is required to confirm and better understand salient factors related to physical activity during this critical early childhood period.
Cite this paper: Li, Y. , Kwan, M. , King-Dowling, S. and Cairney, J. (2015) Determinants of Physical Activity during Early Childhood: A Systematic Review. Advances in Physical Education, 5, 116-127. doi: 10.4236/ape.2015.52015.

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