Exploring Early Years Practitioners’ Perspectives and Practices on Pre-Schoolers’ Physical Activity, Fundamental Movement Skills and Eating Behaviours

  • Estera Sevel

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    Exploring Early Years Practitioners’ Perspectives and Practices on Pre-Schoolers’ Physical Activity(PA), Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) and Eating Behaviours.
    Childhood obesity prevalence in the UK is worrying as 9.9% and 13.1% of 4-5 year old children are obese and overweight, respectively. The number of children attending early years settings’ (EYS) is gradually increasing and the habits young children acquire are heavily dependent on the opportunities provided to them in the environments they spend the most time in. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore early years practitioners' (EYP), working in Startwell EYS in Birmingham, knowledge and perspectives on practices related to promoting pre-schoolers' physical activity, healthy eating and motor competence.
    METHODS: An anonymous, cross-sectional 24-item online survey was used to explore EYPs’ (n=77) working in Startwell EYS in Birmingham (West Midlands, UK) practices, knowledge and perspectives on pre-schoolers' PA, FMS and eating behaviours. Descriptive and thematic analyses were administered to analyse the results.
    RESULTS: Early years practitioners’ knowledge on Startwell-specific nutrition and physical activity for pre-schoolers' guidelines was adequate with 89.6%, 84.4%, 71.4%, 83.1% and 62.3% of EYPs answering correctly in relation to fruit and vegetables (F&V) portion, snack serving, plate size, daily overall as well as high physical activity, respectively. Almost half (41.6%, n=32) of EYPs said they have not heard of the FMS term before. Main barriers when promoting PA and healthy eating behaviours included a lack of EYPs’ confidence and parental support.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study explored important EYPs’ perspectives and knowledge that can aid and further shape the Startwell programme in relation to promotion of EBRBs and motor competence in EYS. Overall, the knowledge demonstrated by EYPs on pre-schoolers' nutrition and PA guidelines was an indicator of successful Startwell provision. However, some findings highlight areas for improvement, especially in EYPs’ training on FMS concept and its application in EYS.
    Date of Award2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    • Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
    SupervisorMichael Duncan (Supervisor) & Katie Fitton Davies (Supervisor)

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