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Effect of Sex and Body Mass Index on Children's Physical Activity Intensity during Free Play at an Indoor Soft Play Center: An Exploratory Study

Effect of Sex and Body Mass Index on Children's Physical Activity Intensity during Free Play at an Indoor Soft Play Center: An Exploratory Study

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(9):

Background: Indoor soft play can provide a safe but exciting physical activity opportunity regardless of environmental conditions. Relatively little is known about the quality or quantity of physical activity engaged in by children during indoor free soft play. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution indoor free soft play can make in enabling children to meet physical activity guidelines and to evaluate the effects of sex and body mass index category. Methods: Seventy-two boys and girls aged five to 10 years engaged in un-controlled indoor free soft play with a mean duration of 120.7 (27.1) min, during which physical activity was monitored using Actigraph accelerometers. Results: Children spent an average of 61.7 (24.2) min engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and 51.4% (n = 37) achieved the recommended 60 min of MVPA through the single visit to the indoor soft play center. Boys (68.3 (25.7) min) engaged in significantly (p < 0.05) more MVPA than girls (55.8 (21.4) min). Normal weight (65.7 (23.3) min) children engaged in significantly more MVPA than overweight children (48.0 (18.9) min). Conclusions: Attendance at a soft play indoor center has the potential to support children to engage in sufficient MVPA and overcome environmental factors that can restrict physical activity opportunities.

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Accession: 059653797

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28895904

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14091052

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