Outdoor Kindergartens: A Structural Way to Improve Early Physical Activity Behaviour?

Jeanett Friis Rohde, Sofus Christian Larsen, Mathilde Sederberg, Anne Bahrenscheer, Ann Kristine Nielsen, Berit Lilienthal Heitmann, Ina Olmer Specht

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


Background: Studies have shown that outdoor play in nature is associated with a higher physical activity level than indoor play. We aimed to examine the effect of outdoor versus conventional kindergartens on objectively measured physical activity. Method: Using a pre-test-post-test design, we collected data in four kindergartens that provided a rotating outdoor and conventional kindergarten setting. Step counts were measured during one week in the outdoor setting and one week in the conventional setting. Differences in step counts between the outdoor and conventional setting were analysed using a paired t-test. Results: In total, 74 children were included. There was no statistically significant difference in total daily step counts between children in the two settings. When we looked at step counts during kindergarten hours, we saw that children were more physically active in the outdoor setting compared to the conventional setting (mean difference: 1089, p < 0.0001). When we looked at activity during time outside the kindergarten, we discovered that children had a lower step count in the outdoor setting as compared to the conventional setting (mean difference −652, p = 0.01). Conclusion: This study indicates that children are more physically active during the time they spend in outdoor kindergartens compared to conventional kindergartens, but may compensate with more inactivity outside kindergarten hours.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Udgave nummer6
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023


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