Behavioral assessment of physical activity preferences of young children

Document Type

Conference Presentation



Conference Title

Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis


Association for Behavior Analysis


Chicago, IL

Conference Dates

May 23-27, 2014

Date of Presentation



Low levels of physical activity are correlated with negative health outcomes such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. This is alarming given the rise in the prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity over the last few decades, especially in young children. Developing assessment strategies that can readily identify the variables related to both healthy and unhealthy patterns of activity might be useful in informing interventions that aim to increase physical activity. The current study extended previous research in the functional analysis of physical activity by evaluating the utility of a concurrent-chains procedure to identify participant preference to several common outdoor activity contexts. Together, the two assessments strategies were able to identify both healthy and unhealthy patterns of responding in four preschool-age children. The role of participant preference, as it relates to physical activity, will be discussed in the context of developing intervention strategies that aim to increase activity levels in sedentary individuals.

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