Patterns and Correlates of Sedentary Behavior in Children Attending Family Child Care

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 15;17(2):549. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020549.


Public health authorities recommend young children should not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time. This study assessed the frequency and duration of sedentary bouts in children attending family child care homes (FCCHs); and examined associations with FCCH provider practices related to sedentary behaviors. Overall, 127 children (aged 3.5 ± 1.1 years) from 41 FCCHs participated in the study. Sedentary bouts were measured using an accelerometer worn for the duration of FCCHs attendance over a randomly selected week. Provider practices were assessed using the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care self-assessment instrument. Children attending FCCHs mostly accumulated short sedentary bouts (<5 min) with very few lasting more than 10 min. Boys exhibited significantly fewer sedentary bouts, and significantly less sedentary time in bouts than girls. Children attending FCCHs that met or exceeded childcare standards for outdoor active play, had portable play equipment, offered a variety of fixed play equipment, and/or adequate indoor play space exhibited significantly fewer sedentary bouts and significantly less sedentary time accumulated in short and medium length bouts. Programs encouraging FCCHs to adopt physical activity promoting practices could potentially reduce child sedentary time while in care.

Keywords: early childhood education and care; family child care home; screen time; sedentary behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Child Care / methods*
  • Child Health
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oregon
  • Sedentary Behavior*