Inclusion of preschool children into organized activity in leisure time

Milenko Janković • Karolina Berenji • Zoran Milić • Sandra Vujkov • Ágnes Halasi  

DOI: 10.31382/eqol.181204


All physical activity of preschool children during the day occurs while they are in kindergarten or during their leisure time. The aim of the study was to present the results related to the participation of children in organized activities during leisure time and what is the perception of parents about the scope of their children’s physical activity and the time spent on watching TV, using computers and playing video games (as a part of wider study). The research was conducted in 2017 in the Preschool institution “Naša Radost” in Subotica. The survey questionnaire was filled in by 135 parents for children of the average age of 5.14 years (+0.91). The survey questionnaire contained questions about children’s nutrition (NutriStep survey) and their involvement in organized activities with educational and sports-recreational content during leisure time, as well as parent’s opinion on quantity in child’s sedentary activities. 65.9% of children aged 5 to 7 was found to attend some kind of organized activity, most often within programs of foreign language schools, sports schools and programs with aesthetic presentation of skills is important (ballet, dance and folklore). The largest number of parents reported that their child spent one hour watching TV, using a computer or playing games. About 71% of parents reported that their child was physically active enough. In both cases, a statistically significant difference was found between boys and girls. Within the family circle and within the educational institution, where children spend most of the time, it is necessary to provide conditions for undisturbed growth and development. One of the best ways is through exercising physical activity.

Keywords: preschool children • structured activity • leisure time


Caspersen, C. J., Powell, K. E., & Christenson, G. M. (1985). Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public health reports100(2), 126131.

Cherney, I. D., & London, K. (2006). Gender-linked differences in the toys, television shows, computer games, and outdoor activities of 5-to 13-year-old children. Sex Roles54(9-10), 717.

Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness, & Committee on School Health. (2001). Organized sports for children and preadolescents. Pediatrics107(6), 1459-1462.

Danner, F. W. (2008). A National Longitudinal Study of the Association Between Hours of TV Viewing and the Trajectory of BMI Growth Among US Children. Journal of pediatric psychology33(10), 1100-1107.

Dereń, K., Nyankovskyy, S., Nyankovska, O., Łuszczki, E., Wyszyńska, J., Sobolewski, M., & Mazur, A. (2018). The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity in children and adolescents from Ukraine. Scientific reports8(1), 3625.

Donnelly, J. E., Hillman, C. H., Castelli, D., Etnier, J. L., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., … & Szabo-Reed, A. N. (2016). Physical activity, fitness, cognitive function, and academic achievement in children: a systematic review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise48(6), 1197.

Fedewa, A. L., & Ahn, S. (2011). The effects of physical activity and physical fitness on children’s achievement and cognitive outcomes: a meta-analysis. Research quarterly for exercise and sport82(3), 521-535.

Fuertes, E., Carsin, A. E., Antó, J. M., Bono, R., Corsico, A. G., Demoly, P., … & Heinrich, J. (2018). Leisure-time vigorous physical activity is associated with better lung function: the prospective ECRHS study. Thorax, thoraxjnl-2017.

Hirvensalo, M., Lintunen, T., & Rantanen, T. (2000). The continuity of physical activity–a retrospective and prospective study among older people. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports10(1), 37-41.

Kjønniksen, L., Anderssen, N., & Wold, B. (2009). Organized youth sport as a predictor of physical activity in adulthood. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports19(5), 646-654.

Lachman, S., Boekholdt, S. M., Luben, R. N., Sharp, S. J., Brage, S., Khaw, K. T., Peters, R. J. G., & Wareham, N. J. (2018). Impact of physical activity on the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older adults: EPIC Norfolk prospective population study. European journal of preventive cardiology, 25(2), 200-208.

Machado-Rodrigues, A. M., Fernandes, R., Gama, A., Mourão, I., Nogueira, H., Rosado, V., & Padez, C. (2016). Nutritional Behaviors, Physical Activity, and Risk of Obesity in Portuguese Children. Nutritional Epidemiology, the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism.. DOI:10.3252/

Mistry, K. B., Minkovitz, C. S., Strobino, D. M., & Borzekowski, D. L. (2007). Children’s television exposure and behavioral and social outcomes at 5.5 years: does timing of exposure matter?. Pediatrics120(4), 762-769.

Popović, B., & Stupar, D. (2011). Effects of exercising by program on the development of motor abilities of preschool boys. Glasnik Antropološkog društva Srbije, (46), 269-277.

Proctor, M. H., Moore, L. L., Gao, D., Cupples, L. A., Bradlee, M. L., Hood, M. Y., & Ellison, R. C. (2003). Television viewing and change in body fat from preschool to early adolescence: The Framingham Children’s Study. International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders27(7).

Sibley, B. A., & Etnier, J. L. (2003). The relationship between physical activity and cognition in children: a meta-analysis. Pediatric exercise science15(3), 243-256.

Stupar, D., Popovic, B., Romanov, R., Jankovic, M., Jezdimirovic, T., & Medjedovic, B. (2017). The Effects of Specific Exercise Program on Anthropometric Characteristics and Motor Abilities of Preschool Children. International Journal of Morphology35(3).

Strong, W. B., Malina, R. M., Blimkie, C. J., Daniels, S. R., Dishman, R. K., Gutin, B., Hergenroeder, A., Must, A., Nixon, P, Pivarnik, J., Rowland, T., Trost, S. & Trudeau, F. (2005). Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. The Journal of pediatrics146(6), 732-737.

Telama, R., Yang, X., Hirvensalo, M., & Raitakari, O. (2006). Participation in organized youth sport as a predictor of adult physical activity: a 21-year longitudinal study. Pediatric Exercise Science18(1), 76-88.

Trost, S. G., Sallis, J. F., Pate, R. R., Freedson, P. S., Taylor, W. C., & Dowda, M. (2003). Evaluating a model of parental influence on youth physical activity. American journal of preventive medicine25(4), 277-282.

Wright, J. C., Huston, A. C., Murphy, K. C., Peters, M. S., & Piñon, M. (2001). The Relations of Early Television Viewing to School Readiness and Vocabulary of Children from Low-Income Families: The Early Window Project. Child Development72(5), 1347-1366.

World Health Organization. (2010). Global recommendations on physical activity for health. Geneva: World Health Organization, 810.

Wrotniak, B. H., Epstein, L. H., Dorn, J. M., Jones, K. E., & Kondilis, V. A. (2006). The relationship between motor proficiency and physical activity in children. Pediatrics118(6), 1758-1765.

Zimmerman, F. J., & Christakis, D. A. (2007). Associations between content types of early media exposure and subsequent attentional problems. Pediatrics120(5), 986-992.