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Kindergarten Self-Regulation As a Predictor of Body Mass Index and Sports Participation in Fourth Grade Students

Authors

  • Geneviève Piché,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology, Université du Québec en Outaouais
    2. Groupe de recherche et d’action sur la victimisation des enfants (GRAVE)
    3. Université de Montréal, School Environment Research Group (GRES)
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  • Caroline Fitzpatrick,

    1. Université de Montréal, School Environment Research Group (GRES)
    2. Université de Montréal, Ecole de Psychoéducation
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  • Linda S. Pagani

    1. Université de Montréal, School Environment Research Group (GRES)
    2. Université de Montréal, Ecole de Psychoéducation
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Geneviève Piché, Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 5 rue St-Joseph, Saint-Jerome, Quebec, Canada J7Z 0B7; e-mail: genevieve.piche@uqo.ca.

Abstract

Identifying early precursors of body mass index (BMI) and sports participation represents an important concern from a public health perspective and can inform the development of preventive interventions. This article examines whether kindergarten child self-regulation, as measured by classroom engagement and behavioral regulation, predicts healthy dispositions in fourth grade. To address this objective, secondary analyses were conducted using prospective-longitudinal data from 966 children followed by the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. Self-regulatory skills, including classroom engagement and behavioral regulation, were measured by kindergarten teachers. Greater self-regulatory skills predicted lower BMI and greater parent-reported child sports participation, after controlling for a number of potentially confounding child and family characteristics. This article suggests that assessing kindergarten self-regulatory capacities may help identify children at risk of developing unhealthy dispositions and behaviors in middle childhood.

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