Evaluating the feasibility, effectiveness and acceptability of an active play intervention for disadvantaged preschool children : a pilot study
journal contributionposted on 2011-09-01, 00:00 authored by Karen StagnittiKaren Stagnitti, R Kenna, Mary MalakellisMary Malakellis, B Kershaw, M Hoare, Andrea De Silva-Sanigorski
Australian children from disadvantaged families are at increased risk of delays in acquiring fundamental movement skills, with physical inactivity and increased risk of the potential consequences of obesity. The aims of this pilot study were to: 1) assess the fundamental movement skills of disadvantaged children; 2) evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of adapting an existing parenting and child development program to incorporate additional weekly play activities (the intervention); and 3) examine the acceptability of the intervention. Children aged 1.5-5 years were assessed pre-intervention (n = 26) and postintervention (n = 16) over a period of 22 weeks using the gross motor component of the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales - 2nd Edition (PDMS-2) (Folio & Fewell, 2000). Parents completed a demographic and environmental survey and those implementing the intervention were interviewed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. Pre-intervention the children from disadvantaged families had locomotion, object manipulation and Gross Motor Quotient (GMQ) scores significantly below the norm-referenced standards of the PDMS-2 (p < 0.05). The intervention was associated with improvements in the locomotion (8.35 to 9.5; p = 0.009), and object manipulation (8.6 to 9.6; p = 0.04) subtest scores and the GMQ scores (92.6 to 99.3; p < 0.01). The intervention was deemed feasible and acceptable by those implementing the program. Low levels of physical activity in disadvantaged communities may be related to delayed acquisition of fundamental movement skills in childhood. This pilot study raises the possibility of correcting this deficit in early childhood, and improving the potential for all children to lead an active life.