Effectiveness of a physical activity intervention for Head Start preschoolers: a randomized intervention study

Am J Occup Ther. 2013 Jan-Feb;67(1):28-36. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.005777.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Motor Skills*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / prevention & control