The importance and value of physical activity across the lifespan is being recognised as never before, with the benefits of a lifelong involvement in regular physical activity now well-documented and generally accepted (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). As a result many new developments, new programmes and new initiatives for all ages are being instigated across Scotland and throughout the rest of UK (Scottish Executive, 2003). However, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles in adulthood are still a major concern and, for a number of reasons, it is unclear how successful adult interventions are in solving these problems (Scottish Health Survey, 1998).
Subsequently, attention has gradually been moving towards the childhood years as the best time to develop a foundation for lifelong physical activity (Health Education Authority (HEA), 1998). As such, young children’s physical activity and basic movement development is now being acknowledged as a key issue and it is widely accepted that the early childhood years are the time to begin the development of the skills, the knowledge and the attitudes that lead to active and healthy lifestyles (NASPE, 2000). In Scotland, this has led to increased government support through the National Physical Activity Strategy (Scottish Executive, 2003), a National Review of Physical Education (Scottish Executive, 2004), the introduction of the Active Schools Programme (sportscotland, 2003) and the inclusion of physical activity as part of the Health Promoting Schools Unit (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2005).
However, although children remain the most active group in society, they are less active than previously thought (Scottish Health Survey, 1998) and become increasingly less active as they move through the adolescent years (Armstrong, Balding, Gentle and Kirkby, 1990; Cale, 1996). This would suggest that there is much work still to be done if a solid foundation for lifelong physical activity is to be developed for all young people.
In comparison to other age groups, there is still relatively little research or literature on early childhood physical activity, but this situation is beginning to change and we are now able to make more robust observations about our understanding of this important area. Subsequently, this review will consider what we currently know about physical activity and basic movement development in early childhood and will also discuss the different contexts in which physical activity habits and basic movement skills are developed. The review will conclude by considering recommendations for future developments.
Editor's comments - [ Young children’s physical activity and basic movement are topics of political, professional and academic interest. With anxieties about inactivity, sedentary lifestyles and obesity, national and local initiatives have been introduced to help all young children develop the positive habits and basic movement foundation needed for a lifelong involvement in physical activity. However, there are concerns about the quality of the physical activity and basic movement experiences children receive in the home, pre-school, early school and community settings. The aim of this review is to inform all those involved in young children’s physical activity and basic movement development about our current understanding of the key issues in this area. ] Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
In the text: Cryer (year)
Reference : Jess, M. Gagen, L. McIntyre, J. Perkins, J. McAlister, J. (2006). Physical Activity and Basic Movement Development in Early Childhood: A Review of Literature. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh
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