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Table 1 Construct variables used in analyses and their component single variable contributors

From: Preschool and childcare center characteristics associated with children’s physical activity during care hours: an observational study

Construct variable for analyses Survey items included in cluster variable Item scoring and range for construct variable
Physical environment characteristics
Indoor physical activity space Indoor physical activity area available at any time during sessions; indoor physical activity area available before/after sessions; staff member available to supervise indoor physical activity before/after sessions; indoor play space available when weather is not suitable to go outdoors Items scored yes/no (available during session, before/after session, staff supervision) or 4-point Likert scale (unsuitable weather); range 0–7
Availability of natural resources Trees, shrubs in outdoor area; natural hills or inclines; logs or sleepers for balancing on; coverage of trees/natural shrubbery in play areas Presence of features (trees, hills, logs) scored yes/no; coverage scored on 3-point Likert scale; total range 0–6
Use of constructed resources Number of shaded/covered areas; artificial lighting in shaded/covered areas; fenced areas for kicking/striking Lighting, fenced areas scored yes/no; number of shaded areas: continuous number
Indoor activity spaces Number of indoor physical activity areas; number of rooms with physical activity equipment Sum of continuous responses
Ovals/grassed spaces Number of outdoor ovals or grassed spaces available Total number
Outdoor activity areas Number of outdoor play areas with equipment; number of outdoor play areas without equipment Sum of continuous responses
Indoor physical activity space Total indoor physical activity space Areas measured; total space determined (m2)
Outdoor physical activity space Total outdoor physical activity space Areas measured; total space determined (m2)
Total physical activity space Total indoor physical activity space; Total outdoor physical activity space Sum of above variables (m2)
Fixed equipment Number of pieces of fixed equipment Total number of pieces
Permanent features Number of permanent features (e.g. wall/ground markings) Total number of features
Portable equipment Number of pieces of portable equipment (e.g. climbing frames, balls) Total number of pieces
Sports equipment Children permitted to bring their own equipment (e.g. balls); sports equipment available before/after sessions Items scored yes/no; total range 0–2
Natural ground coverings Number of outdoor play spaces with natural ground coverings (e.g. grass) Total number
Synthetic ground coverings Number of outdoor play spaces with synthetic ground coverings (e.g. concrete) Total number
Policy characteristics
Funding Funding for physical activity from organisation; budget specifically allocated to support physical activity Items coded yes/no; total score 0–2
Restrictions to physical activity Restrictions for misbehaviour; frequency of children being seated for ≥30 mins at a time; limits on number/quantity of sport equipment used at one time Items scored on 4-point Likert scale (misbehaviour, seated) or yes/no (limits on sport equipment); range 0–9
Electronic media use Frequency of watching TV/videos/DVDs; frequency of playing e-games; frequency of computer use Each item scored on 5-point Likert scale; range 0–15
Staff physical activity training Staff participate in physical activity training opportunities Likert scale; range 0–4
Outdoor safety Quality/safety of fixed equipment; quality/safety of ground coverings; frequency of safety checks on equipment Each item scored on 3- or 4-point Likert scale; total range 0–13
Environmental restrictions to physical activity Children allowed to play in/on trees; fences/barriers restricting access to play equipment; designated areas of yard for different groups of children; designated time during which different groups can use the yard or areas of the yard; presence of quiet outdoor play areas; requirement that all children be outdoors during outdoor activity sessions Items scored yes/no; total range 0–6
Program characteristics
Total physical activity delivered to children Physical activity delivered by teacher/staff each week; physical activity delivered by someone other than teacher/staff each week Total minutes/week
Structured physical activity Number of structured physical activity sessions; duration of structured physical activity sessions Number of structured sessions Χ duration of each session; total minutes/week
Free play Amount of time in active outdoor free play time Total minutes/week
Number of other physical activity opportunities Physical activity outside normal session time; number of annual physical activity events or fundraisers; outsourced physical activity sessions Each item coded yes/no; range 0–3
Indoor duration before being allowed outdoors Amount of time children had to be indoors before they could be outdoors Total minutes
Physical activity programs Center is a member of a network or participates in programs designed to promote physical activity; center has an active transport policy; center links with local community groups (e.g. sporting clubs); center is a member of Kids Go for your Life program; other policy or program initiatives to support physical activity Each item scored yes/no; total range 0–5
Parent physical activity support Center promotes/encourages formal (providing instructions, etc.) and/or informal (providing support/encouragement to children, etc.) parent involvement/support of physical activity programs Likert scale (0–2); total range 0–4
Physical activity support Visible support for physical activity through posters, pictures, books, etc.; during active free play time staff join in Each item scored on 4-point Likert scale; total range 0–8