Projects per year
Objective: To investigate the association between shade coverage in early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres and pre-school children’s physical activity, outdoor time and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. Methods: A total of 48 ECEC centres (678 children) in the Western Australian Play Spaces and Environments for Children’s Physical Activity (PLAYCE) study took part. Physical activity at ECEC was measured using 7-day accelerometry. UVR exposure was measured using polysulphone film attached to children’s shoulders. Educators reported time spent outdoors. The Shade Factor and remote sensing imagery captured shade coverage. Results: Centre vegetation but not Shade Factor was significantly negatively associated with children’s UVR exposure (p < 0.001). Higher levels of vegetation were associated with increased time outdoors, but higher levels of the Shade Factor were associated with decreased time outdoors (all p < 0.001). Neither shade measure was significantly associated with physical activity. Outdoor time moderated the relationships between shade measures, physical activity and UVR exposure. Conclusions: The provision of shade, particularly through natural forms such as tree canopy, is an important sun protection strategy and enabler of outdoor time in children attending ECEC.