A Single Question of Parent-Reported Physical Activity Levels Estimates Objectively Measured Physical Fitness and Body Composition in Preschool Children: The PREFIT Project
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Physical fitnessMotor activityBody compositionFatnessPhysical activityPreschool children
Palou P, Muntaner-Mas A, Cantallops J, Borràs PA, Labayen I, Jiménez-Pavón D, Dorado García C, Moliner-Urdiales D, Rodríguez Pérez MA, Rojo-Tirado MA, Cadenas-Sanchez C, Ortega FB and Vidal-Conti J (2019) A Single Question of Parent-Reported Physical Activity Levels Estimates Objectively Measured Physical Fitness and Body Composition in Preschool Children: The PREFIT Project. Front. Psychol. 10:1585. [doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01585]
SponsorshipFBO was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness – MINECO/FEDER DEP2016-79512-R, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the grant agreement no. 667302, the University of Granada, Plan Propio de Investigación 2016, Excellence Actions: Units of Excellence, the Unit of Excellence on Exercise and Health (UCEES), the Junta de Andalucia, Consejeria de Conocimiento, Investigación y Universidades, the EXERNET Research Network on Exercise and Health in Special Populations (DEP2005-00046/ACTI), the SAMID III Network, RETICS, funded by the PN I+D+I 2017-2021 (Spain), ISCIII-Sub-Directorate General for Research Assessment and Promotion, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (Ref. RD16/002). IL was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (DEP2016-78377-R), the “Fondos Estructurales de la Unión Europea (FEDER), Una manera de hacer Europa”, the Public University of Navarra, Plan de Promoción de Grupos de Investigación, and the EXERNET Research Network on Exercise and Health in Special Populations (DEP2005-00046/ACTI). DJ-P was supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation – MINECO (RYC-2014-16938), the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness – MINECO/FEDER (DEP2016-76123-R), the Government of Andalusia, Integrated Territorial Initiative 2014–2020 for the province of Cádiz (PI-0002-2017), the European Union’s ERASMUS+SPORT Programme (Grant Agreement 603121-EPP-1-2018-1-ES-SPO-SCP), and the EXERNET Research Network on Exercise and Health in Special Populations (DEP2005-00046/ACTI).
Physical inactivity is recognized as a determinant of low physical fitness and body composition in preschool children, which in turn, are important markers of health through the lifespan. Objective methods to assess physical activity, physical fitness and body composition in preschool children are preferable; however, they have some practical limitations in the school context. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test whether a single question regarding physical activity level of preschool children, reported by their parents, could be used as an alternative screening tool of physical fitness and body composition. The information was obtained from 10 different cities throughout Spain, gathering a total of 3179 healthy preschool children (52.8% boys and 47.2% girls) aged 3–5 years. Physical activity levels of preschool children were reported by parents using a single question with five response options (very low, low, average, high, or very high). Physical fitness and body composition were assessed with the PREFIT fitness battery. The results showed that parents’ perception of their children’s physical activity was positively associated with all objectively measured physical fitness components (brange = −0.094 to 0.113; all p < 0.020); and negatively with body composition indicators as measured (brange = −0.113 to −0.058; all p < 0.001). The results showed significant differences in all physical fitness and body composition z-scores across the parent-reported physical activity levels (all p < 0.017 and all p < 0.001, respectively), as well as, for the fitness index (p < 0.001). Our study suggests that in school settings with insufficient resources to objectively assess fitness and body composition, parentsreported physical activity level by means of a single question might provide useful information about these important health markers in preschool children.