Ensuring young children have adequate opportunities for physical activity (PA) is important, and policies at childcare centers may help to ensure children have adequate opportunities. The purpose of this study is to examine the associations between center policies and odds of meeting best practices for PA in non-Head Start Texas early care and education (ECE) centers. Licensed centers with publicly available email addresses on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website were invited to participate in an online survey in February 2016. A total of 10 PA-related policies and 11 best practices were assessed. Logistic regression models assessed the odds of meeting best practices with each written policy (vs. no written policy). Covariates included center enrollment size. Exclusion criteria yielded a cross-sectional sample of 481 center respondents. Centers reported, on average, 3.92 (SD = 3.00) policies and meeting 4.55 (SD = 1.99) best practices. Each policy was associated with higher odds of meeting at least one best practice. Education policies and structured, adult-led active play policies were associated with meeting most PA best practices. No policies were associated with meeting best practices for seated time or for providing preschoolers recommendation daily minutes of indoor and outdoor PA. Texas ECEs report a low number of written policies and best practice implementation. The findings suggest policies alone may not be enough for implementation of best practices. There are opportunities for enhancement in mandated licensing, policy development, and best practice implementation surrounding PA. (author abstract)
Examining physical activity policies to practice implementation: Results from the Texas Early Childhood Physical Activity Survey in non-Head Start childcare centers
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