31st Jan 2024

The practice of Physical Activity (PA) in childhood is related to a healthy cardiometabolic, physical and psychosocial profile and to better motor and cognitive development, especially in terms of executive function (EF). It is also important to note that 24-hour movement behaviours, including PA, sedentary time, and sleep time, are influenced by each other. It is therefore crucial to understand the effects of PA, sedentary time and sleep in Cognitive Development (CD), namely EF, including Inhibitory Control (IC), Working Memory (WM) and Cognitive Flexibility (CF) in children.The objective of the present study was to relate PA, sedentary time and sleep hours with EF of preschool children.
The sample consisted of 102 children (aged between 3 and 5 years) from the Gym4PETIZ program, 52% girls and 48% boys. PA (counts/minute) and Sedentary Time were measured using ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers and PA diary, and Sleep was evaluated only through the PA diary; EF was evaluated through the Early Years ToolBox.
The main results, when analyzed by simple linear regression, demonstrated that Sleep ((CI-β=-0.518; p=0.000; R2=0.269); (WM- β=-0.307; p=0.010; R2=0.094)) and sedentary time ((CI-β=-0.408; p=0.000; R2=0.167); (WM- β=-0.327; p=0.05; R2=0.107)) have a significant negative effect on 2 of the 3 EF domains, and no significant results were found between EF and PA.
These results agree with the literature, in which it is reported that more time spent in sedentary behavior and sleep is associated with negative indicators for children’s development, justifying the importance of studying these themes.
The 24-hour movement behaviours are influenced by each other, however, more studies involving higher sample densities and more detailed variables, for example the type of sedentary behaviour or the quality of sleep time, are needed to solidify these results.

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