Ample evidence exists to support the benefits of habitual physical activity levels on long term health and well-being for adults, youth and, more recently, children. However information about factors that impact on young children’s choices to be active or inactive is limited because the accurate measurement of physical activity in young children is difficult. Consequently, many statements found in the literature about young children’s physical activity levels are not founded on empirically validated information. Some conclusions are extrapolated to younger children from findings in studies of older children.
This paper is based on an extensive review of literature and the outcomes of a National Summit held in Fremantle, WA in November 2001. It seeks to identify those key early life experiences and context factors that research has confirmed create the child who is attracted to physically active play rather than sedentary play. The implications of these findings for future research and intervention programs are presented.
Hands, B. P., Parker, H., & Larkin, D. (2002). What do we really know about the constraints and enablers of physical activity levels in young children? Paper presented at the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Inc (ACHPER), 23rd Biennial National/International Conference: Interactive Health & Physical Education. Launceston, TAS, 3-5 July 2002.