Preschool children’s sedentary behavior : The role of individual characteristics, home and preschool settings, and socioeconomic status

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-3452-3
Title: Preschool children’s sedentary behavior : The role of individual characteristics, home and preschool settings, and socioeconomic status
Author: Määttä, Suvi
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020-06-09
Belongs to series: URN:ISSN:2343-2748
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-3452-3
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/315060
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: The sedentary lifestyle is rooted in our lives across many settings in contemporary society. The phenomenon has raised public health concerns due to increasing knowledge of the negative health consequences of extensive sedentary behavior (SB). SB is defined as any waking behavior characterized by a low energy expenditure while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture. Already, preschool-aged children are sedentary for over half their daily waking hours. The prevalence of their SB encourages understanding of the factors associated with it. The two key settings for the development of preschool children’s SB habits are home and preschool. As postulated by the socioecological model of SB, each setting, with its social and physical environment, shapes the individual’s possibilities for SB differently. Each setting may also differ in socioeconomic status (SES). Beside settings, individual characteristics (e.g. temperament) shape behavior. These theoretical assumptions create the potential to study the interplay between individual characteristics, SES, home and preschool settings, and children’s SB. The main research focus of this dissertation was to examine examine how SES, individual factors, and home and preschool settings combine to shape preschool children’s SB. The specific questions targeted in this study were: 1) Which individual, home, and preschool factors were associated with the preschool children’s overall SB and to what extent did these factors explain variance in children’s overall SB? 2) Which factors in the preschool setting were associated with preschool children’s SB during preschool hours and did these factors in preschool setting act as moderators in the associations between parental SES and SB? 3) Did co-participation in physical activity (PA) as a parenting practice act as a mediator in the associations between parental SES and SB? and 4) Did the frequent visits to places where PA is encouraged and weekly common practices in the preschool group associate with preschool children’s SB during preschool hours? This research was based on the DAGIS (Increased Health and Wellbeing in Preschool) cross-sectional study, which was conducted in 66 preschools in Western and Southern Finland in the years 2015 and 2016. A total of 864 children, aged three to six years, participated in this study. This multimethod study included objective measurement of SB, observations, and multiple questionnaires covering the children’s characteristics, the preschool setting and the home setting. The preschool setting was defined as consisting of social, physical and organizational environments whereas the home setting comprised parenting behaviors and practices, family knowledge and social norms, and family SES. The indicators of SES were parental educational background and preschool neighborhood SES. All the main analyses in the sub-studies applied multilevel linear regression models, but additionally cross-level interactions were tested in study II and indirect effects in study III. The main results of this research were: 1) Being a boy and having higher levels of surgency temperament were associated with lower SB. Individual characteristics explained the variance in children’s SB more than the settings. 2) Parental perceived barriers related to children’s outdoor PA was associated with children’s higher SB, whereas more frequent parental co-participation in PA, especially in their own yard and in nature, was associated with children’s lower SB. 3) Parental SES differences existed regarding co-participation in PA practices. Compared to parents with high SES backgrounds, parents with low SES reported visiting more frequently their own yards, and this was associated with their children’s lower SB. Parents with high SES reported more frequent visits to indoor sports facilities than parents with middle or low SES backgrounds, but this frequency did not have a statistically significant association with children’s SB. 4) Preschool practices were associated with children’s lower SB during preschool hours. Namely, more minutes spent on physical education lessons, higher numbers of PA theme weeks, more frequently conducted nature trips and early educators’ practices to break children’s SB were related to children’s lower SB. 5) Higher parental SES was associated with children’s higher SB in preschools either a higher number of organized SB theme weeks, a lower number of PA theme weeks or a lower number of PE lessons. This dissertation brings novel and practical knowledge about the important role of parental and preschool practices in relation to preschool children’s SB. The practical implications based on the results of this dissertation encourage the development of public health programs and intervention strategies related to parental and preschool practices enhancing preschool children’s healthy SB habits. More specifically, strategies inspiring families’ frequent co-participation in PA, specifically in nature and their own yards, can be beneficial. In addition, all the preschools should assure frequent nature trips, PE lessons and PA theme weeks for their children, as these practices have the potential to diminish children’s SB. However, the children’s individual characteristics also need to be reflected on better. More research is needed on the mechanisms of SES in children’s SB.Fyysisesti passiivinen elämäntyyli ja paikallaanolo ovat juurtuneet osaksi nykyajan elämää. Ilmiö herättää kansanterveydellistä huolta, kun tietämys liiallisen paikallaanolon terveyshaitoista on lisääntynyt. Jo päiväkoti-ikäiset lapset viettävät paljon aikaa paikallaan, vaikka kyseistä ikäryhmää pidetään fyysisesti aktiivisimpana väestöryhmänä yhteiskunnassa. Tämä yleisyys kannustaakin tutkimaan ja tunnistamaan paikallaanoloon yhteydessä olevia tekijöitä. Tässä väitöskirjassa tutkittiin lasten yksilöllisten piirteiden, kodin, päiväkodin ja perheen sosioekonomisen aseman roolia päiväkoti-ikäisten lasten paikallaanolossa. Väitöskirja on osa Folkhälsanin tutkimuskeskuksen ja Helsingin yliopiston toteuttamaa monivuotista DAGIS-tutkimushanketta. Aineistona on poikkileikkaustutkimus, johon osallistui 864 lasta iältään 3–6 vuotta ja heidän vanhempaansa sekä 66 päiväkotia eri puolilta Suomea. Lasten paikallaanolo mitattiin liikemittarilla. Tämä väitöskirja tuo uutta ja käytännönläheistä tietoa päiväkodin ja kodin käytäntöjen merkityksestä lasten paikallaanolossa. Käytännön suosituksena tutkimuksen tulosten perusteella kannustetaankin kehittämään terveydenedistämisohjelmia, joilla edistetään kodin ja päiväkodin lasten paikallaanoloa vähentäviä käytäntöjä. Erityisesti perheiden säännöllinen yhdessä liikkuminen varsinkin omalla pihalla tai luonnossa on hyödyllinen käytäntö. Yhdessä liikkumisen käytännöissä esiintyi eroja perheiden välillä vanhemman koulutustaustan mukaan. Korkeammin koulutustaustan omaavat perheet kävivät useammin sisäliikuntapaikoissa muihin perheisiin verrattuna, mutta tällä vierailutiheydellä ei ollut merkitystä lasten paikallaanoloon. Matalan koulutustaustan omaavat perheet puolestaan liikkuivat yhdessä pihalla useammin, mikä vähensi lasten paikallaanoloa. Toisena keskeisenä suosituksena on, että kaikissa päiväkodeissa tulisi taata lapsille säännöllisesti liikuntatunteja, metsäretkiä sekä liikunnan teemaviikkoja, koska näillä käytännöillä on mahdollisuus vähentää lasten paikallaanoloa. Myös varhaiskasvattajien käytäntö tauottaa paikallaanoloa usein on hyödyllinen keino tauottaa lasten paikallaanoloa. Kuitenkin lasten yksilölliset piirteet tulee huomioida paremmin eri käytäntöjen toteutuksessa. Varsinkin lapsen temperamentti ja sukupuoli näyttävät tämän selittävän enemmän eroavaisuuksia lasten paikallaanolossa kuin koti tai päiväkoti.
Subject: sosiaalipsykologia
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