Adherence to the Japanese Physical Activity Guideline During Early Childhood Among Rural Preschoolers: A Cross-sectional Study

J Epidemiol. 2021 Mar 5;31(3):194-202. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20190320. Epub 2020 Oct 17.


Background: Physical activity (PA) guidelines for early childhood have been established worldwide, and adherence to PA guidelines has been utilized to assess the effectiveness of policies regarding PA promotion. Although there is a Japanese PA guideline for preschoolers, little is known about adherence to this recommendation. This study examined and compared proportions of meeting the Japanese PA guideline among preschoolers.

Methods: Participants comprised 821 children aged 3-6 years from all 21 preschools and childcare facilities (hereafter collectively "preschools") within Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan. Data on PA levels were collected through a parent-report questionnaire in accordance with the Japanese PA guideline. This guideline recommends that preschoolers perform PA for at least 60 minutes every day. Analyses included descriptive statistics, chi-squared, and Mann-Whitney's tests to compare adherence to the PA guideline.

Results: Data of 441 participants from 20 preschools were analyzed. Of these, 292 (66.2%) preschoolers met the PA guideline. Boys (70.2%) showed a significantly higher proportion of meeting the PA guideline than girls (61.2%; P = 0.048). Proportions of meeting the PA guideline among preschool grades were not statistically different. Prevalence rates of meeting the PA guideline among 20 preschools considerably varied from 14.3% to 100% (P = 0.007).

Conclusions: Two-thirds of preschoolers met the Japanese PA guideline, while adherence to PA recommendations differed between genders. Moreover, there were distinct variations of adherence to PA guideline among preschools. Possible determinants that cause the differences in adherence to the PA guideline at the individual and preschool-levels should be further evaluated.

Keywords: Japanese; guideline; physical activity; preschoolers.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires