Nature-based early childhood education and children’s physical activity, sedentary behavior, motor competence, and other physical health outcomes: a mixed-methods systematic review

Johnstone, A. et al. (2022) Nature-based early childhood education and children’s physical activity, sedentary behavior, motor competence, and other physical health outcomes: a mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 19(6), pp. 456-472. (doi: 10.1123/jpah.2021-0760) (PMID:35537707) (PMCID:PMC7613039)

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Abstract

Background: The purpose was to synthesize evidence on the association between nature-based Early Childhood Education (ECE) and children’s physical activity (PA) and motor competence (MC). Methods: A literature search of 9 databases was concluded in August 2020. Studies were eligible if (1) children were aged 2–7 years old and attending ECE, (2) ECE settings integrated nature, and (3) assessed physical outcomes. Two reviewers independently screened full-text articles and assessed study quality. Synthesis was conducted using effect direction (quantitative), thematic analysis (qualitative), and combined using a results-based convergent synthesis. Results: 1370 full-text articles were screened and 39 (31 quantitative and 8 qualitative) studies were eligible; 20 quantitative studies assessed PA and 6 assessed MC. Findings indicated inconsistent associations between nature-based ECE and increased moderate to vigorous PA, and improved speed/agility and object control skills. There were positive associations between nature-based ECE and reduced sedentary time and improved balance. From the qualitative analysis, nature-based ECE affords higher intensity PA and risky play, which could improve some MC domains. The quality of 28/31 studies was weak. Conclusions: More controlled experimental designs that describe the dose and quality of nature are needed to better inform the effectiveness of nature-based ECE on PA and MC.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wells, Ms Valerie and Thomson, Dr Hilary and Reilly, Prof John and Martin, Dr Anne and Mccrorie, Dr Paul and Johnstone, Dr Avril
Authors: Johnstone, A., McCrorie, P., Cordovil, R., Fjørtoft, I., Iivonen, S., Jidovtseff, B., Lopes, F., Reilly, J. J., Thomson, H., Wells, V., and Martin, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Publisher:Human Kinetics
ISSN:1543-3080
ISSN (Online):1543-5474
Published Online:10 May 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Human Kinetics
First Published:First published in Journal of Physical Activity and Health 19(6): 456-472
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727621Neighbourhoods and CommunitiesAnne EllawayMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/10HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/4HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727651Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in HealthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727671Informing Healthy Public PolicyPeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727661Complexity in Health ImprovementLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727661Complexity in Health ImprovementLaurence MooreChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU14HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU16HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727651Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in HealthAlastair LeylandChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727671Informing Healthy Public PolicyPeter CraigChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU15HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU17HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727621Neighbourhoods and CommunitiesAnne EllawayChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU10HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU19HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/2HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit