2017, Volume 9, Issue 4

The effect of the cluster randomized HIPPA intervention on childcare children’s overall physical activity

Marjo Anette Mehtälä1, Arja Sääkslahti Sääkslahti1, Anne Soini2, Tuija Tammelin3, Janne Kulmala3, Jari Villberg1, Kari Nissinen4, Marita Poskiparta1

1Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
2Department of Education, University of Jyväskylä
3LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health
4Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä

Author for correspondence: Marjo Anette Mehtälä; Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä; email: anette.mehtala@jyu.fi

Full text


The effect of the cluster randomized Home- and childcare-based Intervention to Promote Physical Activity (HIPPA) intervention on the everyday physical activity (PA) of children between the ages of 4 to 5 years was evaluated.

Fourteen childcare centers with 102 children born in 2007 and their families participated in the study. HIPPA was implemented over a single preschool year in seven childcare centers while seven other centers continued their normal care (control group, CG). The PA levels of children were assessed by accelerometers six times every six months during two and a half years of research. Valid PA data were obtained from 69 children at baseline and analyzed with a linear mixed model.

Children in HIPPA engaged in more MVPA (moderate-to-vigorous PA) at post-intervention and more LMVPA (light-to-vigorous PA) at the six-month follow-up on weekdays than the CG did (estimated net effect: 13 min/day and 15 min/day, respectively). Sex-specific analyses indicated that the differences in weekday MVPA and LMVPA between groups were significant at follow-up among girls (estimated net effect: 15 min/day and 20 min/day, respectively), but not among boys.

Overall, HIPPA was effective in increasing PA in childcare-aged children, especially in girls.

Key words: physical activity, children, childcare, intervention, sex