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Special Issue "Environmental and Psychosocial Factors Associated with Physical Activity Behavior and Motor Competence among Children and Adolescents"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Javier Molina-García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
AFIPS Research Group, Department of Teaching of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression, University of Valencia, Avda. dels Tarongers, 4, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: physical activity behavior; active transportation; motor competence; built environment; psychosocial factors
Prof. Dr. Xavier García-Massó
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departament de Didàctica de l’Expressió Musical, Plàstica i Corporal, University of Valencia, 46021 Valencia, Spain
Interests: motor control and learning on children and adolescents
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Isaac Estevan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Teaching of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression, University of Valencia, Spain;
Physical activity and health promotion-AFIPS research group, University of Valencia, Spain;
AFIPS research group, University of Valencia, Spain.
Interests: motor competence; fundamental motor skills; motor development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Ana Queralt
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
AFIPS Research Group; Department of Nursing, University of Valencia, Jaume Roig, s/n, 46010 Valencia, Spain
Interests: physical activity; exercise; health behaviors; accelerometry; built environment; walkability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of IJERPH, we are organizing a Special Issue about the environmental and psychosocial factors associated with physical activity behavior and motor competence among children and adolescents. IJERPH is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes manuscripts in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health.

With several theoretical models supporting the importance of physical activity behavior and motor competence across the lifespan, we are interested in papers analyzing the relationship of the aforementioned topics, especially those addressing these associations according to psychosocial and/or environmental factors in children and adolescents. In the case of environmental factors, the type of neighborhood, the school, and/or field-based contexts are particularly important for youth’s health. For instance, studies involving the following topics are welcome for this Special issue in IJERPH:

  • Neighborhood built environment and/or psychosocial factors as a correlate of physical activity and other health behaviors in adolescents and children;
  • Psychological processes associated with physical activity behavior and/or motor competence;
  • Assessment and development of different forms of motor competence at school environment;
  • The association between motor competence and active lifestyles;
  • The role of field-based and/or school environments in developing physical activity and/or motor competence across years.

Dr. Javier Molina-García
Prof. Xavier García-Massó
Dr. Isaac Estevan
Dr. Ana Queralt
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Physical activity behavior
  • Motor competence
  • Active transportation
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Physical education
  • Motor development
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Neighborhood built environment
  • Children
  • Adolescents

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of an Intervention for Promoting Basic Motor Competencies in Middle Childhood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147343 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 590
Abstract
The development of motor competencies is necessary for participation in the culture of sport, exercise, and physical activity, which in turn supports the development of a healthy lifestyle. A lack of physical activity in childhood and deficits in motor performance emphasize the relevance [...] Read more.
The development of motor competencies is necessary for participation in the culture of sport, exercise, and physical activity, which in turn supports the development of a healthy lifestyle. A lack of physical activity in childhood and deficits in motor performance emphasize the relevance of interventions for promoting basic motor competencies. However, there are research desiderata with regard to such interventions. This article describes an intervention program for promoting basic motor competencies in middle childhood (around 6 to 10 years of age). The intervention was investigated in a longitudinal study from June 2019 to January 2020 (n = 200; 58% girls, M = 8.84 years, SD = 0.63) at three primary schools. The intervention was conducted once a week in physical education (PE). The comparison group participated in regular PE. The intervention showed significant effects on basic motor competencies in object movement but not in self-movement. The results demonstrate that positive effects on basic motor competencies can be achieved with the help of a relatively simple intervention. Further longitudinal studies are desirable as a means of substantiating the results and developing evidence-based concepts to support children in their development in the best possible way. Full article
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Article
Perceived Physical Competence Predicts Gains in Children’s Locomotor but Not Ball Skills across an Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5990; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115990 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
The purpose of this pre/post experimental study was to examine if children’s perceived physical competence predicted changes in motor skills across an intervention. Sixty-seven children (Mage = 53.2 ± 3.7 months) participated in a 16-week, mastery-climate motor skill intervention. Perceived physical competence was [...] Read more.
The purpose of this pre/post experimental study was to examine if children’s perceived physical competence predicted changes in motor skills across an intervention. Sixty-seven children (Mage = 53.2 ± 3.7 months) participated in a 16-week, mastery-climate motor skill intervention. Perceived physical competence was assessed before the intervention using the physical competence subscale of the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children. Motor skills were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3rd Edition before and after the intervention. Results revealed that controlling for pretest skills, perceived physical competence significantly predicted posttest locomotor (p < 0.05) and total skills (p < 0.05) but did not predict posttest ball skills (p > 0.05). These results indicate that perceived physical competence may be a significant factor that predicts children’s gains in locomotor or total skills, but not ball skills, across an intervention. Full article
Article
Physical, Perceptual, Socio-Relational, and Affective Skills of Five-Year-Old Children Born Preterm and Full-Term According to Their Body Mass Index
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3769; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073769 - 04 Apr 2021
Viewed by 899
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to compare the psychomotor development of five-year-old children born preterm and full term. The comparison included physical-motor, perceptual-motor, and socio-relational and affective skills. As low weight is one of the variables that most influences the psychomotor [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to compare the psychomotor development of five-year-old children born preterm and full term. The comparison included physical-motor, perceptual-motor, and socio-relational and affective skills. As low weight is one of the variables that most influences the psychomotor development of premature infants, a secondary aim was to analyze these skills according to their current body mass index (BMI). A prospective simple ex-post facto study was conducted. The sample consisted of 672 five-year-old children enrolled in the third year of early childhood education in the province of Albacete, Spain; 35 of them was born prematurely. Children were evaluated by their teachers using the Checklist of Psychomotor Activities (CPA). The results show that children born preterm had a lower development of their physical-motor skills. In the perceptual-motor field, premature children showed lower scores in the variables related to their body image and body schema, motor dissociation, and visual-motor coordination, as well as in socio-relational and affective aspects. However, the development in laterality, dynamic coordination, motor execution, tonic-postural control, and balance were not affected. These differences were not affected by the current weight, given that the analysis of the BMI indicated no differences in preterm children. This study demonstrated the need to establish protocols oriented to the prevention of the difficulties detected in children with psychomotor high-risk and the needs to reinforce the educational programs in this area to improve the integral development of children born preterm. Full article
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Article
What Factors Help Young Children Develop Positive Perceptions of Their Motor Skills?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 759; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020759 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
A positive perception of motor skills is important for physical activity participation. The aim was to investigate which modifiable factors predict children’s perceived motor skills. Mothers completed questionnaires when their child was 3.5 and 5 years old. At 5 years old, the children’s [...] Read more.
A positive perception of motor skills is important for physical activity participation. The aim was to investigate which modifiable factors predict children’s perceived motor skills. Mothers completed questionnaires when their child was 3.5 and 5 years old. At 5 years old, the children’s perceived motor competence (PMC) was assessed. Separate linear regression models (up to 300 children) examined which factors at each time point predicted children’s PMC, adjusted for relevant confounders. Multivariate models were then run with factors associated (p < 0.10) with perception. At 3.5 years, the time spent with same age and older children (both higher tertiles) and parental physical activity facilitation (sum of facilitation in last month, e.g., taking child to park) were initially associated with higher perception. Dance/gymnastics participation were associated with lower perceptions. Other child behaviours, maternal beliefs, play equipment, and swimming lessons were non-significant. In the final prospective model (n = 226), parental physical activity facilitation when child was 3.5 years old was the only factor to predict PMC. No factors were significant for the cross-sectional analyses at 5 years. Perceptions are formed based on past experiences which may explain why factors at 3.5 years rather than current experiences (when children were 5 years old) were associated with childhood perceptions. Full article
Article
The Role of the Neighborhood Social Environment in Physical Activity among Hispanic Children: Moderation by Cultural Factors and Mediation by Neighborhood Norms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9527; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249527 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 778
Abstract
Little is known about how the neighborhood social environment (e.g., safety, crime, traffic) impacts child physical activity. We examine the mechanism by which the neighborhood social environment is associated with child physical activity, moderated by individual-level cultural factors (e.g., language at home, immigrant [...] Read more.
Little is known about how the neighborhood social environment (e.g., safety, crime, traffic) impacts child physical activity. We examine the mechanism by which the neighborhood social environment is associated with child physical activity, moderated by individual-level cultural factors (e.g., language at home, immigrant generation) and mediated by neighborhood physical activity-related social norms (e.g., seeing walkers in the neighborhood). Data included 2749 non-Hispanic White and Hispanic children from the Healthy Communities Study. Multilevel regression was performed. The neighborhood social environment was not associated with physical activity in the full sample. However, Hispanic children speaking both English and Spanish and first- or second-generation Hispanic children engaged in more physical activity when the quality of the neighborhood social environment was higher (b = 1.60, p < 0.001 for Hispanic children speaking English and Spanish; b = 2.03, p < 0.01 for first-generation Hispanic children; b = 1.29, p < 0.01 for second-generation Hispanic children). Neighborhood physical activity-related social norms mediated the association between the neighborhood social environment and physical activity among Hispanic children speaking English and Spanish (b = 0.33, p < 0.001) and second-generation Hispanic children (b = 0.40, p < 0.001). Findings suggest heterogeneity in how neighborhood social environments impact physical activity by cultural factors. Health promotion programs may need to enhance neighborhood social environments to increase Hispanic children’s physical activity. Full article
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Article
Active Transport to School and School Neighbourhood Built Environment across Urbanisation Settings in Otago, New Zealand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9013; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17239013 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1276
Abstract
The school neighbourhood built environment (BE) can facilitate active transport to school (ATS) in adolescents. Most previous studies examining ATS were conducted in large urban centres and focused on BE of home neighbourhoods. This study examined correlations between school-level ATS rates among adolescents, [...] Read more.
The school neighbourhood built environment (BE) can facilitate active transport to school (ATS) in adolescents. Most previous studies examining ATS were conducted in large urban centres and focused on BE of home neighbourhoods. This study examined correlations between school-level ATS rates among adolescents, objectively measured school neighbourhood BE features, and adolescents’ perceptions of the school route across different urbanisation settings. Adolescents (n = 1260; 15.2 ± 1.4 years; 43.6% male) were recruited from 23 high schools located in large, medium, and small urban areas, and rural settings in Otago, New Zealand. Adolescents completed an online survey. School neighbourhood BE features were analysed using Geographic Information Systems. School neighbourhood intersection density, residential density and walkability index were higher in large urban areas compared to other urbanisation settings. School-level ATS rates (mean 38.1%; range: 27.8%–43.9%) were negatively correlated with school neighbourhood intersection density (r = −0.58), residential density (r = −0.60), and walkability index (r = −0.64; all p < 0.01). School-level ATS rates were also negatively associated with adolescents’ perceived safety concerns for walking (r = −0.76) and cycling (r = −0.78) to school, high traffic volume (r = −0.82), and presence of dangerous intersections (r = −0.75; all p < 0.01). Future initiatives to encourage ATS should focus on school neighbourhood BE features and minimise adolescents’ traffic safety related concerns. Full article
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Article
How Czech Adolescents Perceive Active Commuting to School: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155562 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1170
Abstract
To achieve a healthy lifestyle, adolescents must be physically active and meet physical activity (PA) guidelines. One of the most natural ways of increasing the amount of PA is active commuting (AC) to school. Recent reviews suggest that peer norms have the potential [...] Read more.
To achieve a healthy lifestyle, adolescents must be physically active and meet physical activity (PA) guidelines. One of the most natural ways of increasing the amount of PA is active commuting (AC) to school. Recent reviews suggest that peer norms have the potential to shape PA during adolescence in particular. Thus, our primary aim was to investigate whether Czech adolescents misperceive their peers’ AC behaviors and attitudes towards AC. Our dataset comprised cross-sectional data on 1586 adolescents aged 11–15 years. Basic descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and correlation analyses were used to analyze the data. Regarding traveling to school, 68% of the Czech adolescents in this study are daily active commuters (walking, cycling, or riding a scooter or skateboard). Less than half of the respondents believed that most of their classmates were commuting to school actively almost daily. The students who believed that most of their classmates commuted to school actively had significantly higher chances of being regular active commuters themselves. The results showed that most of the Czech adolescents misperceived the AC norms of their peers. Thus, there could be potential in using a social norms approach aimed at increasing the level of AC in Czech adolescents through targeted interventions. Full article
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Article
Transformational Teaching in Physical Education and Students’ Leisure-Time Physical Activity: The Mediating Role of Learning Climate, Passion and Self-Determined Motivation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4844; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17134844 - 05 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1329
Abstract
In the context of education, this study examined the relationship between perceiving a transformational physical education (PE) teacher and student’s leisure-time physical activity (PA). Furthermore, we tested the potential mediation role of motivational learning climate, passion and self-determined motivation in this relationship. The [...] Read more.
In the context of education, this study examined the relationship between perceiving a transformational physical education (PE) teacher and student’s leisure-time physical activity (PA). Furthermore, we tested the potential mediation role of motivational learning climate, passion and self-determined motivation in this relationship. The sample was composed of 2210 high-school PE students (1145 males, 1065 females) between 16 and 20 years of age. Results of structural equation modeling revealed that the perceived transformational PE teacher–PA outcomes relationship was stronger when students perceived a task-involving climate, when they were harmoniously passionate, and when they were self-determined. We conclude that students’ health-enhancing behaviours could be improved if their PE teachers use transformational teaching style and created a task-oriented learning climate. Full article
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Article
Association between Actual and Perceived Motor Competence in School Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3408; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103408 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1502
Abstract
(1) Background: The association between actual and perceived motor competence (MC) is one of the underlying mechanisms that influence the practice of physical activity. This study mainly aimed to analyze the structure and correlations between actual and perceived MC in schoolchildren and to [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The association between actual and perceived motor competence (MC) is one of the underlying mechanisms that influence the practice of physical activity. This study mainly aimed to analyze the structure and correlations between actual and perceived MC in schoolchildren and to compare actual and perceived MC between girls and boys. (2) Methods: A total of 467 fifth and sixth graders (43.9% girls, M = 11.26, SD = 0.70) participated. Actual and perceived MC were assessed. To examine the proposed four factor models, structural equation models (factor analyses, latent correlations, invariance testing for gender) were conducted. Student t-test for independent samples was used to compare boys and girls. (3) Results: Proposed models achieved acceptable fit values with moderate correlation between the factors according to the type of MC in actual and perceived MC. Invariant factor structure in boys and girls was revealed. Boys performed and perceived themselves higher in object control than girls; whereas girls showed higher actual and perceived self-movement than boys. (4) Conclusions: The association between actual and perceived MC exists both globally and separately by gender, despite the differences between boys and girls. It is important to consider the role of gender and type of MC in the development of motor competencies, as well as in the strengthening of the children’s sense of competence. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Combined Movement and Storytelling Intervention on Motor Skills in South Asian and White Children Aged 5–6 Years Living in the United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103391 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 1650
Abstract
Early motor development has an important role in promoting physical activity (PA) during childhood and across the lifespan. Children from South Asian backgrounds are less active and have poorer motor skills, thus identifying the need for early motor skill instruction. This study examines [...] Read more.
Early motor development has an important role in promoting physical activity (PA) during childhood and across the lifespan. Children from South Asian backgrounds are less active and have poorer motor skills, thus identifying the need for early motor skill instruction. This study examines the effect of a movement and storytelling intervention on South Asian children’s motor skills. Following ethics approval and consent, 39 children (46% South Asian) participated in a 12-week movement and storytelling intervention. Pre and post, seven motor skills (run, jump, throw, catch, stationary dribble, roll, and kick) were assessed using Children’s Activity and Movement in Preschool Study protocol. At baseline, South Asian children had poorer performance of motor skills. Following the intervention, all children improved their motor skills, with a bigger improvement observed for South Asian children. Early intervention provided remedial benefits to delays in motor skills and narrowed the motor skills gap in ethnic groups. Full article
Article
A Conceptual Framework for Modelling Safe Walking and Cycling Routes to High Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3318; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17093318 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
Active transport to or from school presents an opportunity for adolescents to engage in daily physical activity. Multiple factors influence whether adolescents actively travel to/from school. Creating safe walking and cycling routes to school is a promising strategy to increase rates of active [...] Read more.
Active transport to or from school presents an opportunity for adolescents to engage in daily physical activity. Multiple factors influence whether adolescents actively travel to/from school. Creating safe walking and cycling routes to school is a promising strategy to increase rates of active transport. This article presents a comprehensive conceptual framework for modelling safe walking and cycling routes to high schools. The framework has been developed based on several existing relevant frameworks including (a) ecological models, (b) the “Five Es” (engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation) framework of transport planning, and (c) a travel mode choice framework for school travel. The framework identifies built environment features (land use mix, pedestrian/cycling infrastructure, neighbourhood aesthetics, and accessibility to local facilities) and traffic safety factors (traffic volume and speed, safe road crossings, and quality of path surface) to be considered when modelling safe walking/cycling routes to high schools. Future research should test this framework using real-world data in different geographical settings and with a combination of tools for the assessment of both macro-scale and micro-scale built environment features. To be effective, the modelling and creation of safe routes to high schools should be complemented by other interventions, including education, enforcement, and encouragement in order to minimise safety concerns and promote active transport. Full article
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Article
“It Is Like Compulsory to Go, but It Is still pretty Nice”: Young Children’s Views on Physical Activity Parenting and the Associated Motivational Regulation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2315; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17072315 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1779
Abstract
Physical activity parenting (PAP) is consistently correlated with children’s physical activity (PA). Children’s perception of PAP has garnered little attention given that it mediates the relationship between PAP and child PA outcomes. This study aimed to examine 7–10-year-old children’s perspectives on PAP practices [...] Read more.
Physical activity parenting (PAP) is consistently correlated with children’s physical activity (PA). Children’s perception of PAP has garnered little attention given that it mediates the relationship between PAP and child PA outcomes. This study aimed to examine 7–10-year-old children’s perspectives on PAP practices and how they relate to their motivational regulation of PA. A total of 79 children 7–10 years of age participated in 19 semi-structured focus group interviews. Through qualitative theory-guided content analysis, using frameworks of parenting dimensions and self-determination theory (SDT), we found that children’s perceptions of high responsiveness and low demandingness in PAP—according to SDT, autonomy support, involvement, and structure—were associated with satisfaction of all three psychological basic needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In contrast, perceptions of high demandingness and low responsiveness in PAP, i.e., coercive control, were associated with dissatisfaction of autonomy need. However, perceptions of high demandingness and high responsiveness in PAP, specifically parental expectations and facilitation of PA, were associated with satisfaction of competence need. It seems possible to identify different types of PAP practices associated with children’s motivation for PA. Different forms of parental demandingness with differing motivational outcomes were uniquely identified from the children’s perceptions of PAP. Full article
Article
Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors of Young Children: Trends from 2009 to 2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1645; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17051645 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1315
Abstract
Over the last decade, the lives of children in several countries, including Greece, have been affected by recession. The aim of the present study was (a) to examine time trends in physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST) of Greek preschool children, together [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the lives of children in several countries, including Greece, have been affected by recession. The aim of the present study was (a) to examine time trends in physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST) of Greek preschool children, together with their family affluence (FA), from 2009 until 2018, and to explore the associations among them; and (b) to investigate the connections of parental educational level and children’s BMIs to their achieving ST (<1 h/day) and PA (11,500 steps/day) guidelines. A total of 652 children from four cross-sectional cohorts participated. PA was recorded with Omron HJ-720IT-E2 pedometers, whereas ST, family affluence (FA) and parental educational level were reported by participants’ parents. The results of the one-way ANOVAs that were computed revealed statistically significant differences among cohorts, albeit of no practical importance, in PA, ST and FA. According to the regressions calculated, neither BMI nor the educational level was related to membership in ST and PA guidelines groups. ST was a significant predictor of children’s PA in all week periods (school-time, leisure-time, weekend), whereas FA was not such a strong predictor. Multilevel interventions aiming at both ST and PA seem to be imperative for the benefit of young children’s health. Full article
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