Preschool Children’s Preferences for Outdoor versus Sedentary Activity

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown, Hope College
Professor Vicki Voskuil, Hope College
Dr. Steven Smith, Hope College
Dr. Mark Northuis, Hope College

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Publication Date



This material is based upon work supported by the Hope College-Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Development Grants for Interdisciplinary Research under grant No. G00024963.


Although the growing childhood obesity epidemic stems from various factors, one particular aspect that has been identified is that children are not as physically active as in previous decades. Currently, the average child spends less than 25 minutes per day outside, which speaks to the inactive lifestyle of today’s youth. In the US alone, there are over 9 million children over the age of 6 that are considered obese. This obesity trend has many negative health implications and costs this country over 98 billion dollars annually (Smith & Northuis, 2006). Physical activity has been cited as a way to improve not only health, but academic performance as well. Children who are physically active have experience better cognitive functioning, overall health, academics, and self esteem (Hanson, Muller, Austin & Lee-Bayha 2004). This study investigates the activity preferences of preschool children to explore early tendencies toward sedentary versus physical activity.

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