Are kids in day care not moving enough?
A new study finds that preschoolers are not getting enough indoor or outdoor daily exercise.
Researchers at the University of Washington believe that the little ones receive less than an hour a day of active time even though most preschool exercise guidelines recommend at least two hours of physical activity daily. This included one hour each of adult-led and unstructured free play time.
“Children need daily opportunities for physical activity not only for optimal weight status, but because physical activity promotes numerous aspects of health, development and well-being,” said Dr. Pooja Tandon, lead study author. “Physical activity, which in this age occurs typically in the form of play, promotes cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and mental health and is associated with academic achievement.”
Medical experts are convinced that establishing healthy habits at a young age are imperative in combating obesity.
“At every visit, I remind my patients the importance of physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle, especially at an early age,” says Harivadan K. Gandhi, pediatrician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “When you are physically active, it can reduce many health problems like high cholesterol and obesity. It is simply a proven benefit to the overall health of your body.”
The study examined children from 10 different child care centers. Each center was observed for four full days and the day was divided into six categories – non-active play time, nap time, outdoor free time, outdoor teacher-lead activity, indoor play time and indoor teacher lead time. The results showed 73 percent of the time children were sedentary throughout the day, with an average of 33 minutes per day outdoors.
Physical exercise is essential for a child’s health and development, experts agree.
Researchers discovered that preschoolers had significantly less physical activity while at child care, and encouraged more outdoor time, teacher-led play time and free play time.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.