An International Study of 24-Hour Movement Behaviours in The Early Years has been mooted by Dr Maureen Cheserek at Egerton University, a project instituted at the University of Wollongong.
The primary aim of the learning dubbed SUNRISE study is to determine the proportion of children sampled in participating countries that meet the WHO Global 24-hour Movement Guidelines. The Project partners entailing Egerton University, University of Wollongong, Australia, Greatness for wellness (NGO) and Kenyatta University will be collecting data in line with WHO guidelines 2018.
While welcoming the researchers, Vice Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage stated; “I am happy to have you at Egerton University. This data will be significant in knowing how Kenyan children are ready for the standards of WHO guidelines.”
He went on to note: “It is the number one study in Kenya, we are honoured as a University to collect data for the country. This data can be used to plan policy frameworks like school feeding programmes, Physical Education playgrounds for our children in the country,”
Prof Kibwage stated that it is a novel study to know if children are growing well. He explained that: “We have urban-urban and rural-rural setups in the country which I believe can provide data on the disparities we have in our Kenyan population. For example, Kibera slums is an urban area with a different environment compared with Runda or Karen estates in Nairobi.”
The Egerton University Principal Investigator Dr Maureen Cheserek said: “There are permissions from NACOSTI and Ethical clearance from Egerton University to enable progress of the pilot study in the region. This pilot study is to test the feasibility and acceptability of the data collection measures proposed for the main study.”
More so, the study is aimed at providing an opportunity to monitor the new World Health Organization Guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age.
Pilot Study in Nakuru County
The primary aim of the pilot SUNRISE study is to determine the feasibility of recruiting 100 children from urban and rural settings. the Kenyan pilot study will inform the international main study. It is being implemented by recruiting 100 children, 50 in Urban schools, and 50 in rural school setups within Nakuru County.
Dr Cheserek explains; “We have done a preliminary visit to the schools and they are ready., The County government is also supporting the study. They have allowed the schools to work with the Principal Investigator (PI).”
Expected Project Outcomes
From the study, the investigators shall monitor physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children aged 3-4 years.
Then, this project shall enable the building of the capacity of researchers and research teams in early childhood movement behaviours.
It is also envisaged that the research shall come in handy to develop an international community in early childhood movement behaviours.
The study will also inform national efforts in the prevention of overweight and obesity in young children for the achievement of health and developmental potential.
“Sometimes s our children are not allowed to play as shown in the timetables in the schools for lack of social amenities,” Said Dr Cheserek.
Egerton University’s Director of Marketing and Resource Mobilization Prof Paul Kimurto said: “We would be happy if the study can collect data at the Egerton University ECD to compare with that of learners from other parts of the county. This is because the Early Childhood Centre within the University offers a unique academic environment for the young learners whose parents are mostly University staff.”
Dr Cheserek says, “We seek MOU to get continuous training, data analysis by Wollongong University, and also get follow up programme on these Children in the area of study.”
Present during the meeting were Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Planning and Development Professor Richard Mulwa.
Prof. Mulwa was elated with the study saying that the playgrounds in most schools in urban areas are diminishing with the ever-growing population in schools that has necessitated the expansion of building infrastructure. He observed that the mode of transport in urban areas is different from that in rural areas where learners walk longer distances. Nevertheless, with the influx of motorcycles in the country, some learners use motorcycles and taxis.
The Sunrise study was highly welcomed by Egerton University management. Thanks to funding from the World Cancer Research Fund: which engages in the prevention and survival experts, analyse global research on diet, weight, physical activity and cancer towards making policy recommendations. The programme is also enabled by Cancer Australia, a Government agency that provides national leadership in cancer control.
Also, key in the study is Wellness for Greatness Kenya, a health and fitness organization founded to run the Transforming Ordinary into Extraordinary wellness program. Kenyatta University and the University of Zimbabwe are also involved in the study. The Zimbabwean University is keen on establishing a Memorandum of understanding with Egerton University in research.