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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5635070, 6 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5635070
Research Article

Effects of Structured Physical Activity Program on Chinese Young Children’s Executive Functions and Perceived Physical Competence in a Day Care Center

1Department of Physical Education, Shenzhen Polytechnic University, Shenzhen, China
2School of Physical Education, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China
3School of Physical Education, Huaihua University, Huaihua, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Shanying Xiong and Xianxiong Li

Received 23 August 2017; Revised 29 September 2017; Accepted 4 October 2017; Published 7 November 2017

Academic Editor: Xu Wen

Copyright © 2017 Shanying Xiong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Purpose. To examine the effects of a structured physical activity program on executive functions and perceived physical competence as compared to a traditional recess among preschool children. Methods. Participants were 40 preschool children aged 4-5 from an urban child care center in a southern Chinese metropolitan area. Prior to the intervention, baseline assessments of children’s executive functions and perceived physical competence were conducted. Children were then assigned to () intervention condition: a structured physical activity intervention group; () control condition: free-activity recess. The structured physical activity or recess programs were provided to the intervention and control groups 30 minutes daily for 3 months, respectively, followed by the identical postintervention measures. Results. Thirty-nine children (19 girls; mean age = 4.67 years old, BMI = ) were included in the analysis. In general, children’s executive functions and perceived physical competence increased over time. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed the intervention group had significant greater increases in executive functions compared to the control children (F(1, 37) = 4.20, , ), yet there were no greater increases in perceived physical competence (F(1, 37) = 2.35, , ). Conclusion. The intervention exerted significant greater increases in executive functions in preschool children. It is meaningful to offer structured physical activity programs in day care centers.