Associations between the home yard and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity

Guy P. Armstrong, Clover Maitland, Leanne Lester, Stewart G. Trost, Gina Trapp, Bryan Boruff, Mohamed K. Al Marzooqi, Hayley E. Christian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives and importance of study: Young children’s outdoor play mostly occurs within the home-yard space, yet the influence of the home yard on preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity is poorly understood. We investigated the relationships between home-yard features and home-based outdoor play and physical activity in preschoolers (2–5 years old). Study type: Cross-sectional observational study. Methods: The PLAY Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study (2015–2017) included 1596 children aged 2–5 years attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) services throughout metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. In this study, a subsample of 224 parents from the PLAYCE study completed an online questionnaire about home-yard features (yard size, lawn quality, natural features, fixed and portable play equipment, and flowers and vegetables/herbs). Accelerometers measured the duration of preschoolers’ moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on non-ECEC days. Parent-reported outdoor play at home, sociodemographic factors and social environment factors were collected via the PLAYCE parent survey. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine associations between home-yard features and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Results: Children spent 68.9 (SD 2.2) minutes playing outdoors in the home yard per day, and 93.3 (SD 37.1) minutes in MVPA per day on non-ECEC days. After adjusting for child and parent factors, home-yard features positively associated with outdoor play included yard size, lawn quality, number of types of fixed and portable play equipment, natural features and play areas (all p ≤ 0.05). When all significant home-yard features were placed in a model, only the number of types of fixed play equipment was positively associated with minutes of outdoor play per day (β = 5.3, p < 0.001). After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, the number of types of portable play equipment in the yard was positively associated with MVPA minutes per day (β = 2.16, p = 0.019); however, this became nonsignificant after further adjusting for social environment factors. Conclusions: Features of the home-yard physical environment were positively associated with preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Each additional type of fixed play equipment present was associated with an additional 5 minutes of outdoor play per day. These findings suggest that the home-yard space has the potential to facilitate increased outdoor play in young children. Further research is warranted to explore causal relationships between home-yard attributes and young children’s outdoor play and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2911907
JournalPublic Health Research and Practice
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2019

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Exercise
Equipment and Supplies
Social Environment
Education
Linear Models
Western Australia
Vegetables
Observational Studies
Cross-Sectional Studies
Parents
Research

Cite this

@article{53547d874b534a4d8b5aab4400dbd1d3,
title = "Associations between the home yard and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity",
abstract = "Objectives and importance of study: Young children’s outdoor play mostly occurs within the home-yard space, yet the influence of the home yard on preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity is poorly understood. We investigated the relationships between home-yard features and home-based outdoor play and physical activity in preschoolers (2–5 years old). Study type: Cross-sectional observational study. Methods: The PLAY Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study (2015–2017) included 1596 children aged 2–5 years attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) services throughout metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. In this study, a subsample of 224 parents from the PLAYCE study completed an online questionnaire about home-yard features (yard size, lawn quality, natural features, fixed and portable play equipment, and flowers and vegetables/herbs). Accelerometers measured the duration of preschoolers’ moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on non-ECEC days. Parent-reported outdoor play at home, sociodemographic factors and social environment factors were collected via the PLAYCE parent survey. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine associations between home-yard features and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Results: Children spent 68.9 (SD 2.2) minutes playing outdoors in the home yard per day, and 93.3 (SD 37.1) minutes in MVPA per day on non-ECEC days. After adjusting for child and parent factors, home-yard features positively associated with outdoor play included yard size, lawn quality, number of types of fixed and portable play equipment, natural features and play areas (all p ≤ 0.05). When all significant home-yard features were placed in a model, only the number of types of fixed play equipment was positively associated with minutes of outdoor play per day (β = 5.3, p < 0.001). After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, the number of types of portable play equipment in the yard was positively associated with MVPA minutes per day (β = 2.16, p = 0.019); however, this became nonsignificant after further adjusting for social environment factors. Conclusions: Features of the home-yard physical environment were positively associated with preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Each additional type of fixed play equipment present was associated with an additional 5 minutes of outdoor play per day. These findings suggest that the home-yard space has the potential to facilitate increased outdoor play in young children. Further research is warranted to explore causal relationships between home-yard attributes and young children’s outdoor play and physical activity.",
author = "Armstrong, {Guy P.} and Clover Maitland and Leanne Lester and Trost, {Stewart G.} and Gina Trapp and Bryan Boruff and {Al Marzooqi}, {Mohamed K.} and Christian, {Hayley E.}",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
day = "6",
doi = "10.17061/phrp2911907",
language = "English",
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journal = "Public Health Research & Practice",
issn = "2204-2091",
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Associations between the home yard and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. / Armstrong, Guy P.; Maitland, Clover; Lester, Leanne; Trost, Stewart G.; Trapp, Gina; Boruff, Bryan; Al Marzooqi, Mohamed K.; Christian, Hayley E.

In: Public Health Research and Practice, Vol. 29, No. 1, e2911907, 06.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Associations between the home yard and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity

AU - Armstrong, Guy P.

AU - Maitland, Clover

AU - Lester, Leanne

AU - Trost, Stewart G.

AU - Trapp, Gina

AU - Boruff, Bryan

AU - Al Marzooqi, Mohamed K.

AU - Christian, Hayley E.

PY - 2019/3/6

Y1 - 2019/3/6

N2 - Objectives and importance of study: Young children’s outdoor play mostly occurs within the home-yard space, yet the influence of the home yard on preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity is poorly understood. We investigated the relationships between home-yard features and home-based outdoor play and physical activity in preschoolers (2–5 years old). Study type: Cross-sectional observational study. Methods: The PLAY Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study (2015–2017) included 1596 children aged 2–5 years attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) services throughout metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. In this study, a subsample of 224 parents from the PLAYCE study completed an online questionnaire about home-yard features (yard size, lawn quality, natural features, fixed and portable play equipment, and flowers and vegetables/herbs). Accelerometers measured the duration of preschoolers’ moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on non-ECEC days. Parent-reported outdoor play at home, sociodemographic factors and social environment factors were collected via the PLAYCE parent survey. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine associations between home-yard features and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Results: Children spent 68.9 (SD 2.2) minutes playing outdoors in the home yard per day, and 93.3 (SD 37.1) minutes in MVPA per day on non-ECEC days. After adjusting for child and parent factors, home-yard features positively associated with outdoor play included yard size, lawn quality, number of types of fixed and portable play equipment, natural features and play areas (all p ≤ 0.05). When all significant home-yard features were placed in a model, only the number of types of fixed play equipment was positively associated with minutes of outdoor play per day (β = 5.3, p < 0.001). After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, the number of types of portable play equipment in the yard was positively associated with MVPA minutes per day (β = 2.16, p = 0.019); however, this became nonsignificant after further adjusting for social environment factors. Conclusions: Features of the home-yard physical environment were positively associated with preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Each additional type of fixed play equipment present was associated with an additional 5 minutes of outdoor play per day. These findings suggest that the home-yard space has the potential to facilitate increased outdoor play in young children. Further research is warranted to explore causal relationships between home-yard attributes and young children’s outdoor play and physical activity.

AB - Objectives and importance of study: Young children’s outdoor play mostly occurs within the home-yard space, yet the influence of the home yard on preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity is poorly understood. We investigated the relationships between home-yard features and home-based outdoor play and physical activity in preschoolers (2–5 years old). Study type: Cross-sectional observational study. Methods: The PLAY Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study (2015–2017) included 1596 children aged 2–5 years attending early childhood education and care (ECEC) services throughout metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. In this study, a subsample of 224 parents from the PLAYCE study completed an online questionnaire about home-yard features (yard size, lawn quality, natural features, fixed and portable play equipment, and flowers and vegetables/herbs). Accelerometers measured the duration of preschoolers’ moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on non-ECEC days. Parent-reported outdoor play at home, sociodemographic factors and social environment factors were collected via the PLAYCE parent survey. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine associations between home-yard features and preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Results: Children spent 68.9 (SD 2.2) minutes playing outdoors in the home yard per day, and 93.3 (SD 37.1) minutes in MVPA per day on non-ECEC days. After adjusting for child and parent factors, home-yard features positively associated with outdoor play included yard size, lawn quality, number of types of fixed and portable play equipment, natural features and play areas (all p ≤ 0.05). When all significant home-yard features were placed in a model, only the number of types of fixed play equipment was positively associated with minutes of outdoor play per day (β = 5.3, p < 0.001). After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, the number of types of portable play equipment in the yard was positively associated with MVPA minutes per day (β = 2.16, p = 0.019); however, this became nonsignificant after further adjusting for social environment factors. Conclusions: Features of the home-yard physical environment were positively associated with preschoolers’ outdoor play and physical activity. Each additional type of fixed play equipment present was associated with an additional 5 minutes of outdoor play per day. These findings suggest that the home-yard space has the potential to facilitate increased outdoor play in young children. Further research is warranted to explore causal relationships between home-yard attributes and young children’s outdoor play and physical activity.

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