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Diet, Activity and BMI in Preschool-Aged Children: Differences Across Settings

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In the present study, children who attended either a University Preschool (UP) or a Head Start (HS) program were studied to determine if they differed in diet, activity, or body mass index (BMI) across settings. Dietary intake over 3 days and motor activity during a free-play period equivalent across settings were measured for 40 children age 4–5 years. Compared to the UP children, the HS children had a higher average food energy intake and lower motor activity. More than half of the HS children were determined to be at the 85th percentile or above on BMI for age and sex compared to little more than a third of the UP children. Apart from the socio-economic and racial/ethnic differences between the two groups of children, the physical environment may also have exerted an impact on activity levels, as the UP classroom and playground were twice as large in square feet in comparison to the HS facilities.

Keywords: Head Start; childhood overweight; preschoolers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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