15th June 2017
A systematic review has been published exploring the qualitative evidence on barriers and facilitators to physical activity and sedentary behaviour in young children (aged 0-6).
The review looked at perceptions of children, parents and childcare providers of their barriers and enablers to physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Overall, 77 barriers and facilitators were identified which fitted into seven broad themes: the child, the home, out of home childcare, parent-childcare provider interaction, environment, safety and weather.
Findings from this study showed that parents believed that children need a certain amount of daily ‘downtime’ and it is not possible for children to be active all of the time. They made a differentiation between screen time and educational ‘downtime’. It is also believed that some children are naturally more active than others and some children prefer sedentary activities compared to others.
Within the home, parents believed that barriers to physical activity included having little outside space. Homes with adequate resources and space often facilitate greater physical activity and the authors recommend that educating parents to maximise use of small spaces for activity is important.
Safety was also mentioned as a barrier by parents, children and childcare providers. Parents worried that children would hurt themselves and children spoke of adults’ fears about their safety limiting the amount of activity they were able to do. Childcare providers said that some restrictive policies within the setting prevent children from being active.