The 3-year evolution of a preschool physical activity intervention through a collaborative partnership between research interventionists and preschool teachers

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Abstract

Despite evidence that preschoolers spend the majority of their time in sedentary activities, few physical activity interventions have focused on preschool-age children. Health promotion interventions that can be integrated into the daily routines of a school or other setting are more likely to be implemented. The Study of Health and Activity in Preschool Environments employed a flexible approach to increasing physical activity opportunities in preschools’ daily schedules through recess, indoor physical activity and physical activity integrated into academic lessons. Eight preschools were randomly assigned to receive the study’s physical activity intervention. Teachers in these schools partnered with university-based interventionists across 3 years to design and implement a flexible and adaptive intervention. The intervention approach included trainings and workshops, site visits and feedback from intervention personnel, newsletters, and physical activity equipment and materials. Teachers reported a high acceptability of the intervention. The purpose of this article is to describe the evolution of a multi-component physical activity intervention in preschools, including (i) a description of the intervention components, (ii) an explanation of the intervention process and approach, and (iii) a report of teachers’ perceptions of barriers to implementation.

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