24 hour movement behaviours and the health and development of pre-school children from Zimbabwean settings: the SUNRISE pilot study
Background: In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) released global guidelines for physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for the early years. The International Study of Movement Behaviours in the Early Years, SUNRISE, aimed to assess the extent to which children aged three and four years meet the WHO global guidelines and its association with health and development.
Objectives: To assess movement behaviours in pre-school children from low-income settings in Zimbabwe and to establish associations between these movement behaviours and adiposity, motor skills and executive function.
Methods: Pre-school children/caregivers were recruited from two urban and two rural public schools respectively in Zimbabwe. The caregivers answered questions on the children’s physical activity, screen time, sedentary behaviour and sleep patterns. Children’s movement behaviours were objectively measured using accelerometers. Gross and fine motor skills and executive function were assessed using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire-3 and Early Years Toolbox, respectively. Focus group discussions were carried out with caregivers and teachers on the acceptability and feasibility of the study.
Results: Eighty-one children participated in the study. The proportions of children meeting the guidelines were physical activity 92%, sedentary behaviour 70%, and sleep 86%, and all guidelines combined 24%. Boys and girls were similar (p>0.05 for all variables) for all executive function variables, but rural children had significantly lower inhibition scores (p=0.026) than urban children.
Conclusion: The study adds to the growing literature on movement behaviours and associated risk factors in low-resourced settings. Further investigations of movement behaviours in this age group in Zimbabwe are recommended.
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