Child Health & Physical Activity Laboratory
Located at Western University, the Child Health and Physical Activity Laboratory is a research and training environment specializing in the measurement, promotion, and influences of young children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviours.
What we do
With the goal of setting young children up on a healthy trajectory, our lab is conducting research to measure, promote, and intervene to support physical activity participation among young children. Our team is specifically interested in the early years cohort, outdoor play, and the important role childcare settings play in shaping young children’s movement behaviours.
Our team comprises faculty researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and volunteers; together, we engage in community-based research in local childcare settings to generate evidence to support health promoting changes to their policies and practices. We work closely with early childhood educators and parents to create feasible and appropriate physical activity interventions. With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the City of London, Mitacs, and Western University, our research has been able to make impacts benefitting the health, and futures, of young children.
The Pillars of Our Research
We objectively measure young children's physical activity and sedentary time via accelerometry. Using devices such as ActiGraph and Actical we are able to examine children's activity patterns
Measurement of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviours
Participating in regular physical activity from a young age can have many benefits - it can help build strong bones and muscles and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These health benefits can be seen in children as young as 2 years of age. Because children develop their movement habits in early childhood, and stick with them as they age, our goal is to emphasize the importance of starting these healthy habits as early in life as possible.
Physical Activity Promotion in the Early Years
Understanding the Role of Childcare in Supporting Children's Health
Many young children are enrolled in childcare settings. Our research focuses on exploring various factors within the childcare setting that influence children's activity levels, such as attitudes and behaviours of early childhood educators, the surrounding environment, scheduling of outdoor play, and policies supporting physical activity. By understanding these factors, we are able to create interventions that optimize this setting for children's health.