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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 1052; doi:10.3390/ijerph14091052

Effect of Sex and Body Mass Index on Children’s Physical Activity Intensity during Free Play at an Indoor Soft Play Center: An Exploratory Study

East Park Terrace, Southampton Solent University, Southampton SO14 OYN, UK
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paediatric Exercise Science and Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [288 KB, uploaded 12 September 2017]


Background: Indoor soft play can provide a safe but exciting physical activity opportunity regardless of environmental conditions. Relatively little is known about the quality or quantity of physical activity engaged in by children during indoor free soft play. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution indoor free soft play can make in enabling children to meet physical activity guidelines and to evaluate the effects of sex and body mass index category. Methods: Seventy-two boys and girls aged five to 10 years engaged in un-controlled indoor free soft play with a mean duration of 120.7 (27.1) min, during which physical activity was monitored using Actigraph accelerometers. Results: Children spent an average of 61.7 (24.2) min engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and 51.4% (n = 37) achieved the recommended 60 min of MVPA through the single visit to the indoor soft play center. Boys (68.3 (25.7) min) engaged in significantly (p < 0.05) more MVPA than girls (55.8 (21.4) min). Normal weight (65.7 (23.3) min) children engaged in significantly more MVPA than overweight children (48.0 (18.9) min). Conclusions: Attendance at a soft play indoor center has the potential to support children to engage in sufficient MVPA and overcome environmental factors that can restrict physical activity opportunities. View Full-Text
Keywords: play; physical activity; children; play centers; soft play play; physical activity; children; play centers; soft play
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jones, M.A. Effect of Sex and Body Mass Index on Children’s Physical Activity Intensity during Free Play at an Indoor Soft Play Center: An Exploratory Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1052.

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