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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Objectively measured sedentary behavior in preschool children: comparison between Montessori and traditional preschools

Wonwoo Byun12*, Steven N Blair1 and Russell R Pate1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA

2 Clinical Exercise Physiology, Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:2  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-2

Published: 3 January 2013

Abstract

Background

This study aimed to compare the levels of objectively-measured sedentary behavior in children attending Montessori preschools with those attending traditional preschools.

Methods

The participants in this study were preschool children aged 4 years old who were enrolled in Montessori and traditional preschools. The preschool children wore ActiGraph accelerometers. Accelerometers were initialized using 15-second intervals and sedentary behavior was defined as <200 counts/15-second. The accelerometry data were summarized into the average minutes per hour spent in sedentary behavior during the in-school, the after-school, and the total-day period. Mixed linear regression models were used to determine differences in the average time spent in sedentary behavior between children attending traditional and Montessori preschools, after adjusting for selected potential correlates of preschoolers’ sedentary behavior.

Results

Children attending Montessori preschools spent less time in sedentary behavior than those attending traditional preschools during the in-school (44.4. min/hr vs. 47.1 min/hr, P = 0.03), after-school (42.8. min/hr vs. 44.7 min/hr, P = 0.04), and total-day (43.7 min/hr vs. 45.5 min/hr, P = 0. 009) periods. School type (Montessori or traditional), preschool setting (private or public), socio-demographic factors (age, gender, and socioeconomic status) were found to be significant predictors of preschoolers’ sedentary behavior.

Conclusions

Levels of objectively-measured sedentary behavior were significantly lower among children attending Montessori preschools compared to children attending traditional preschools. Future research should examine the specific characteristics of Montessori preschools that predict the lower levels of sedentary behavior among children attending these preschools compared to children attending traditional preschools.

Keywords:
Sedentary behavior; Preschool; Montessori; Accelerometer