Development of physical activity policy and implementation strategies for early childhood education and care settings using the Delphi process

Hayley E. Christian, Donna Cross, Michael Rosenberg, Jasper Schipperijn, Trevor Shilton, Georgina Trapp, Stewart G. Trost, Andrea Nathan, Clover Maitland, Ashleigh Thornton, Elizabeth J. Wenden, Phoebe George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of this study was to gain consensus on an evidence informed physical activity policy template for early childhood education and care (ECEC) and determine best-practice dissemination and implementation strategies using the Delphi process. Methods: Three-round modified Delphi methodology. During round one an expert working group developed an evidence informed ECEC specific physical activity policy template. Rounds two and three involved national online surveys to seek insight from a group of experts on the draft physical activity policy template. Results: Ninety per cent of experts reported ECEC services are fully responsible for having a physical activity policy. There was consensus on the components of the policy and key physical activity and sedentary behaviour statements and recommendations. The most effective methods for disseminating a physical activity policy to ECEC providers included online (websites, social and electronic media), ECEC targeted launch events, direct mail outs and via professional associations. Twenty five key strategies related to management, supervisors and educators; the ECEC physical environment; communicating with families; and accreditation, monitoring and review, were identified as necessary for the successful implementation of physical activity policy in ECEC. Experts reached consensus on nine of these strategies indicating they were both easy to implement and likely to have a high level of influence. Key barriers and enablers to implementing ECEC-specific physical activity were also identified. Conclusions: This evidence informed physical activity policy template for ECEC provides recommendations on the amount of physical activity and sedentary time (including screen time) children should have whilst attending ECEC and aligns with national/international guidelines. A number of effective physical activity policy implementation strategies for ECEC were identified. An important next step is advocating for the introduction of legislative requirements for services to have and implement a physical activity policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


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