Tag Archives: Children’s Physical Activity

Canadian study: Interrupting a child’s sedentary time has benefits

1 Dec

Moi wrote in Seattle Research Institute study about outside play: Play is important for children and outside play is particularly important. Kids Discover Nature has some excellent resources about outside play. In the post, 10 Reasons Why Kids Should Play Outside reasons for outside play are given.

1. K-12 students participating in environmental education programs at school do better on standardized tests in math, reading, writing and social studies.
Sources:
Abrams, K.S. (1999). Summary of project outcomes from Environmental Education and Sunshine State Standards schools’ final report data. Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books. (p. 206) Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books. (p. 206)
2. Children and adults find it easier to concentrate and pay attention after spending time in nature.
Sources:
Wells, N.M. (2000). At home with nature: Effects of “greenness” on children’s cognitive functioning. Environment and Behavior 32: 775-795.
Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G.W. (1991). Restorative effects of natural environment experiences. Environment and Behavior 23: 3-26.
3. Nature provides a rich source of hands-on, multi-sensory stimulation, which is critical for brain development in early childhood.
Source:
Rivkin, M.S. Natural Learning.
4. Children’s play is more creative and egalitarian in natural areas than in more structured or paved areas.
Source:
Faber Taylor, A., Wiley, A., Kuo, F.E. & Sullivan, W.C. (1998). Growing up in the inner city: Green spaces as places to grow. Environment and Behavior 30(1): 3-27.
5. Living in “high nature conditions” buffers children against the effects of stressful life events.
Source:
Wells, N. & Evans, G. (2003). Nearby nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and Behavior 35: 311-330.
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books.
6. Views of nature reduce stress levels and speed recovery from illness, injury or stressful experiences.
Sources:
Frumkin, H. (2001). Beyond toxicity: Human health and the natural environment. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 20(3): 234-240.
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books.
7. The ultimate raw material for much of human intellect, emotion, personality, industry, and spirit is rooted in a healthy, accessible, and abundant natural environment.
Source:
Kellert, Stephen R. (2005). Building for Life: Designing and Developing the Human-Nature Connection.Washington: Island Press.
8. Access to nature nurtures self discipline.
Source: Faber Taylor, A., Kuo, F.E., & Sullivan, W.C. (2002). Views of Nature and Self-Discipline: Evidence from Inner City Children. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 49-63.
9. Nearby Nature Boosts Children’s Cognitive functioning.
Source: Wells, N.M. At Home with Nature: Effects of “Greenness” on Children’s Cognitive Functioning. Environment and Behavior. Vol. 32, No. 6, 775-795.
10. Children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention-deficit disorder (ADD) showed reduce symptoms after playing in natural areas.
Source:
Kuo, F.E. & Faber Taylor, A. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health 94(9):1580-1586.
http://www.kidsdiscovernature.com/2009/08/10-reasons-why-kids-should-play-outside.html

Supporting Materials:

◦“The frequency of parent-supervised outdoor play of U.S. preschool age children,” study in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/archpediatrics.2011.1835
◦Blog post: Resurrecting outdoor play time: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/Press-Releases/2012/Resurrecting-outdoor-play-time/
◦Video: Dr. Tandon discusses the study on outdoor play of preschool age children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=232Ikb7BvS0&feature=plcp&context=C428ef59VDvjVQa1PpcFMh6OAAkK4Ps-3tZQUCd4e837lwL3vOExo%3D
◦Video: Dr. Tandon offers advice on how she works to ensure that her children play outside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1_Me951ZwQ&feature=plcp&context=C4ffda09VDvjVQa1PpcFMh6OAAkK4PsxZRiyM-qBEUVaDklEtIUq8

A study by Seattle Research Institute reinforces these findings.

Brian Toporek reported in the Education Week article, Regular Breaks From Sedentary Time Found to Improve Children’s Health:

The simple act of regularly interrupting sedentary time by standing up, on the other hand, could have beneficial effects for children, according to a study published last week in the open-access online journal PLOS ONE.
Researchers analyzed data from 522 children from Quebec, Canada, between the ages of 8 and 11 (286 boys and 236 girls), all of whom had at least one biological parent with a body mass index of 30 or greater. Each child used an accelerometer for seven days to track when he or she was engaging in light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and when he or she was sedentary. The children self-reported how much time they spent watching television and playing video games or using a computer.
Based on the data collected, the researchers calculated a “cardiometabolic risk score,” or a measure of risk for diabetes and heart disease, for each child. They used that score to determine which activities reduced the risk of cardiometabolic-related health problems.
The researchers discovered that children who frequently take breaks from sedentary time—even through the simple act of standing up every five minutes or so—could have lower levels of cardiometabolic risk than children who endure longer bouts of inactivity. ….http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/schooled_in_sports/2013/11/regular_breaks_from_sedentary_time_found_to_improve_childrens_health.html

Here is the study summary and citation:

Associations of Sedentary Behavior, Sedentary Bouts and Breaks in Sedentary Time with Cardiometabolic Risk in Children with a Family History of Obesity
Travis John Saunders mail,
Mark Stephen Tremblay,
Marie-Ève Mathieu,
Mélanie Henderson,
Jennifer O’Loughlin,
Angelo Tremblay,
Jean-Philippe Chaput,
on behalf of the QUALITY cohort research group
Published: Nov 20, 2013
•DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079143
Abstract
Background
Materials and Methods
Results
Discussion
Conclusions
Acknowledgments
Author Contributions
References
Reader Comments (0)
Figures
Abstract
Background
Although reports in adults suggest that breaks in sedentary time are associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk, these findings have yet to be replicated in children.
Purpose
To investigate whether objectively measured sedentary behavior, sedentary bouts or breaks in sedentary time are independently associated with cardiometabolic risk in a cohort of Canadian children aged 8–11 years with a family history of obesity.
Methods
Data from 286 boys and 236 girls living in Quebec, Canada, with at least one biological parent with obesity (QUALITY cohort) were collected from 2005–2008, and analyzed in 2013. Sedentary behavior, light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were measured over 7 days using accelerometry. Leisure time computer/video game use and TV viewing over the past 7 days were self-reported. Outcomes included waist circumference, body mass index Z-score, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, C-reactive protein and a continuous cardiometabolic risk score.
Results
After adjustment for confounders, breaks in sedentary time and the number of sedentary bouts lasting 1–4 minutes were associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk score and lower BMI Z-score in both sexes (all p<0.05). The number of sedentary bouts lasting 5–9 minutes was negatively associated with waist circumference in girls only, while the number of bouts lasting 10–14 minutes was positively associated with fasting glucose in girls, and with BMI Z-score in boys (all p<0.05). Leisure time computer/video game use was associated with increased cardiometabolic risk score and waist circumference in boys, while TV viewing was associated with increased cardiometabolic risk, waist circumference, and BMI Z-score in girls (all p<0.05).
Conclusions
These results suggest that frequent interruptions in sedentary time are associated with a favourable cardiometabolic risk profile and highlight the deleterious relationship between screen time and cardiometabolic risk among children with a family history of obesity.

Citation: Saunders TJ, Tremblay MS, Mathieu M-È, Henderson M, O’Loughlin J, et al. (2013) Associations of Sedentary Behavior, Sedentary Bouts and Breaks in Sedentary Time with Cardiometabolic Risk in Children with a Family History of Obesity. PLoS ONE 8(11): e79143. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079143
Editor: Melania Manco, Scientific Directorate, Bambino Hospital, Italy
Received: June 25, 2013; Accepted: September 18, 2013; Published: November 20, 2013
Copyright: © 2013 Saunders et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The QUALITY cohort is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (www.cihr.ca), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.ca) and Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (http://www.frsq.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.shtml). TJS is supported by Doctoral Research Awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.ca), as well as an Excellence Scholarship from the University of Ottawa (www.uottawa.ca). JOL holds a Canada Research Chair in the Early Determinants of Adult Chronic Disease. AT holds a Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance. JPC holds a Junior Research Chair in Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research (www.haloresearch.ca). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
¶ Members of the QUALITY cohort research group are listed in the Acknowledgments
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0079143

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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Study: Parental education reduces childhood obesity, but more physical activity may be needed

9 Mar

Moi wrote in Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Association has some great information about Physical Activity and Children                                                                                                                               http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

• Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

• The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

• On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

• Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

• Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

• Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

• Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.                               http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=ACF23D1E-229A-11E1-A9BF000C296BA163&aka=0

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/   Just how important physical activity is was hinted at in the study, A Parent-Focused Intervention to Reduce Infant Obesity Risk Behaviors: A Randomized Trial.

Tara Healy writes in the Daily RX article, Exploring Parent Education to Reduce Obesity:

Child obesity happens for many different reasons. These include TV time, diet, physical activity, genetics and other issues. Changing some of these may help reduce risk of obesity.

A recent study sought to find out whether special parenting classes might help reduce risk factors for obesity in babies.

The researchers found the children of parents who took the classes did drink fewer juices and soft drinks. They also ate fewer sweet snacks and watched less TV.

However, about a year later, the babies’ weight and level of physical activity was not any different than that of children of parents who did not have the classes.

The experiment appeared to reduce some of the behaviors related to obesity but not others….

The researchers included 542 parents and their babies, at an average age of 4 months, in the study.

During a 15-month period, half the parents were given six 2-hour sessions with dietitians, and the other half were sent six newsletters in the mail.

The dietitian sessions focused on teaching parents information and skills related to feeding, diet, physical activity and television viewing for infants. The newsletters sent to the other group dealt with issues unrelated to obesity or obesity factors.

The researchers collected information from the parents when the children were 4 months old, 9 months old and 20 months old. They gathered information about the children’s diet based on what had been eaten in the past 24 hours and the children’s physical activity based on activity monitors the children wore.

The researchers also gathered information from the parents on their children’s television viewing time and the kids’ body mass index scores (BMI). BMI is a ratio of a child’s height and weight used to determine if they are a healthy weight.

When the kids were 9 months old, the researchers found that the children of parents in the dietitian group drank fewer fruit juices and soft drinks and were generally about half as likely to have these drinks at all as compared to the children of parents in the newsletter group

By the end of the study, when the kids were 20 months old, the children of parents in the dietitian group ate about 4 fewer grams of sweet snacks daily and watched about 16 minutes less of TV each day, compared to the other group of children.

Overall, however, there was not much differences among the children in both groups when it came to the amount of fruits, vegetables, non-sweet snacks or water the children consumed. There was also no difference among the kids in either group in terms of physical activity and BMI.

Therefore, the intervention appeared to decrease the amount of TV children watched and the amount of sweet snacks they had. However, it didn’t affect how much exercise they got or their weight.

The researchers said it’s possible that the intervention (the dietitian sessions) needs to be designed differently to focus more on physical activity.

Still, more television time, more sweet snacks and more sweet drinks are all associated with a higher risk of obesity among children. These factors were lower in the group who attended the meetings.   http://www.dailyrx.com/reducing-child-obesity-risk-factors-may-be-possible-specialized-parenting-classes

Citation:

A Parent-Focused Intervention to Reduce Infant Obesity Risk Behaviors: A Randomized Trial

  1. 1.     Karen J. Campbell, PhDa,
  2. 2.     Sandrine Lioret, PhDa,
  3. 3.     Sarah A. McNaughton, PhDa,
  4. 4.     David A. Crawford, PhDa,
  5. 5.     Jo Salmon, PhDa,
  6. 6.     Kylie Ball, PhDa,
  7. 7.     Zoe McCallum, PhDb,
  8. 8.     Bibi E. Gerner, MPHc,
  9. 9.     Alison C. Spence, PhDa,
  10. 10.  Adrian J. Cameron, PhDa,
  11. 11.  Jill A. Hnatiuk, MSca,
  12. 12.  Obioha C. Ukoumunne, PhDd,
  13. 13.  Lisa Gold, PhDe,
  14. 14.  Gavin Abbott, PhDa, and
  15. 15.  Kylie D. Hesketh, PhDa

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1.     aCentre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, and
  2. 2.     eDeakin Health Economics, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia;
  3. 3.     bDepartment of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia;
  4. 4.     cCentre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia; and
  5. 5.     dPenninsula Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of a parent-focused intervention on infants’ obesity-risk behaviors and BMI.

METHODS: This cluster randomized controlled trial recruited 542 parents and their infants (mean age 3.8 months at baseline) from 62 first-time parent groups. Parents were offered six 2-hour dietitian-delivered sessions over 15 months focusing on parental knowledge, skills, and social support around infant feeding, diet, physical activity, and television viewing. Control group parents received 6 newsletters on nonobesity-focused themes; all parents received usual care from child health nurses. The primary outcomes of interest were child diet (3 × 24-hour diet recalls), child physical activity (accelerometry), and child TV viewing (parent report). Secondary outcomes included BMI z-scores (measured). Data were collected when children were 4, 9, and 20 months of age.

RESULTS: Unadjusted analyses showed that, compared with controls, intervention group children consumed fewer grams of noncore drinks (mean difference = –4.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: –7.92 to –0.99; P = .01) and were less likely to consume any noncore drinks (odds ratio = 0.48; 95% CI: 0.24 to 0.95; P = .034) midintervention (mean age 9 months). At intervention conclusion (mean age 19.8 months), intervention group children consumed fewer grams of sweet snacks (mean difference = –3.69; 95% CI: –6.41 to –0.96; P = .008) and viewed fewer daily minutes of television (mean difference = –15.97: 95% CI: –25.97 to –5.96; P = .002). There was little statistical evidence of differences in fruit, vegetable, savory snack, or water consumption or in BMI z-scores or physical activity.

CONCLUSIONS: This intervention resulted in reductions in sweet snack consumption and television viewing in 20-month-old children.

  1. 1.    Published online March 4, 2013

    (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2576)

  2. » Abstract
  3. Full Text (PDF)

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/02/26/peds.2012-2576

Physically fit children are not only healthier, but are better able to perform in school.

Related:

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests    https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/children-body-image-bullying-and-eating-disorders/

The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-healthy-schools-coalition-fights-for-school-based-efforts-to-combat-obesity/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play         https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                                    

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                                                        

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                                            https://drwilda.com/

 

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play

15 Apr

Play is important for children and outside play is particularly important. Kids Discover Nature has some excellent resources about outside play. In the post, 10 Reasons Why Kids Should Play Outside reasons for outside play are given.

1. K-12 students participating in environmental education programs at school do better on standardized tests in math, reading, writing and social studies.

Sources:
Abrams, K.S. (1999). Summary of project outcomes from Environmental Education and Sunshine State Standards schools’ final report data. Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books. (p. 206) Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books. (p. 206)

2. Children and adults find it easier to concentrate and pay attention after spending time in nature.
Sources:
Wells, N.M. (2000). At home with nature: Effects of “greenness” on children’s cognitive functioning. Environment and Behavior 32: 775-795.
Hartig, T., Mang, M., & Evans, G.W. (1991). Restorative effects of natural environment experiences. Environment and Behavior 23: 3-26.

3. Nature provides a rich source of hands-on, multi-sensory stimulation, which is critical for brain development in early childhood.
Source:
Rivkin, M.S. Natural Learning.

4. Children’s play is more creative and egalitarian in natural areas than in more structured or paved areas.
Source:
Faber Taylor, A., Wiley, A., Kuo, F.E. & Sullivan, W.C. (1998). Growing up in the inner city: Green spaces as places to grow. Environment and Behavior 30(1): 3-27.

5. Living in “high nature conditions” buffers children against the effects of stressful life events.
Source:
Wells, N. & Evans, G. (2003). Nearby nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and Behavior 35: 311-330.
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books.

6. Views of nature reduce stress levels and speed recovery from illness, injury or stressful experiences.
Sources:
Frumkin, H. (2001). Beyond toxicity: Human health and the natural environment. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 20(3): 234-240.
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. New York: Algonquin Books.

7. The ultimate raw material for much of human intellect, emotion, personality, industry, and spirit is rooted in a healthy, accessible, and abundant natural environment.
Source:
Kellert, Stephen R. (2005). Building for Life: Designing and Developing the Human-Nature Connection.Washington: Island Press.

8. Access to nature nurtures self discipline.
Source: Faber Taylor, A., Kuo, F.E., & Sullivan, W.C. (2002). Views of Nature and Self-Discipline: Evidence from Inner City Children. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 22, 49-63.

9. Nearby Nature Boosts Children’s Cognitive functioning.
Source: Wells, N.M. At Home with Nature: Effects of “Greenness” on Children’s Cognitive Functioning. Environment and Behavior. Vol. 32, No. 6, 775-795.

10. Children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention-deficit disorder (ADD) showed reduce symptoms after playing in natural areas.
Source:
Kuo, F.E. & Faber Taylor, A. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health 94(9):1580-1586.

http://www.kidsdiscovernature.com/2009/08/10-reasons-why-kids-should-play-outside.html

A study by Seattle Research Institute reinforces these findings.

Here is the Seattle Research Institute press release:

Nearly Half of Preschool Children Not Taken Outside to Play by Parents on a Daily Basis: Study

April 02, 2012

Girls less likely to play outside compared with boys

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatric healthcare providers promote active healthy living by encouraging children to play outside as much as possible.  Being outdoors correlates strongly with physical activity for children, which is important for preventing obesity in the preschool years and on through adulthood.  A new study led by Pooja Tandon, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute found that nearly half of preschoolers in a sample representing four million U.S. children did not have even one parent-supervised outdoor play opportunity per day.  The study, “The frequency of parent-supervised outdoor play of U.S. preschool age children,” was published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

Preschool age children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day,” said Dr. Tandon. “But many preschoolers are not meeting that recommendation. Young children need more opportunities to play outdoors and to help them be more active.”

Preschool age children as defined by the study are those a year away from kindergarten entry, usually four or five years old.  Parents or guardians have the greatest influence on children’s behavior because kids spend the majority of time in their care. This is true even for children in child care, as preschoolers in the U.S. spend an average of 32 hours per week in child care.

Contrary to popular belief, researchers did not find evidence that excessive screen time on computers or watching television was related to less outdoor time.

Moms take kids outside more often 

Girls are less likely to play outside compared with boys, according to the study. And mothers took their children outside to play more often than fathers.  Forty-four percent of moms said they took their kids outside daily, compared to 24 percent of dads.  Fifteen percent of mothers and 30 percent of fathers did not take their child outside to walk or play even a few times per week.

Physical activity through play is essential for preschoolers’ growth and development,” said Dr. Tandon, who is also acting assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.  “Outdoor play is also beneficial for motor development, vision, cognition, Vitamin D levels and mental health,” she added.

Racial, ethnic disparities exist 

The study also found that children with non-white parents are less likely to go outside with them for play.  Asian mothers were 49 percent less likely, black mothers 41 percent less likely and Hispanic mothers 20 percent less likely to take their child outside, compared with white mothers. 

Racial and ethnic disparities in rates of children who are overweight or obese start early on in life,” said Dr. Tandon.  “Children in a low socioeconomic status may have fewer opportunities to be active and play outside.”

Playmates, parents who exercise 

Preschoolers with three or more regular playmates were twice as likely to go outside daily.  Mothers who exercised more than four times per week were 50 percent more likely to take their child outside daily than mothers who did not report any exercise. 

The study findings highlight considerable room for improvement in parent-supervised outdoor play opportunities for preschool age children.  “Even if parents are not able to take their children outside to play due to logistics or time constraints, they can advocate for or insist upon it in child care or preschool settings,” said Dr. Tandon.  “If we can increase awareness of why it’s so important for children to be outdoors, there can be a cultural shift and our children will benefit in many ways.”

Dr. Tandon Offers Tips for Parents to Increase Outdoor Physical Activity for Kids 

  • If your child is in day care or cared for by others, ask about outdoor play time
  • Increase awareness among friends of why it’s important for children to play outdoors
  • Encourage and support girls in outdoor active play
  • Don’t let darkness or weather deter you from getting outside with your kids: Take a “flashlight walk” or a rainy day hike; invite your friends

Dr. Tandon shares these tips, and more, in a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1_Me951ZwQ&feature=plcp&context=C4ffda09VDvjVQa1PpcFMh6OAAkK4PsxZRiyM-qBEUVaDklEtIUq8 

Researchers analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort, using a sample size of 8,950 representing approximately four million U.S. children.  The research was supported by the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development Mentored Scholars Program at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. 

Dr. Tandon’s co-authors were:  Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington; and Chuan Zhou, PhD, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington.

Supporting Materials: 

See, Preschoolers miss out on outdoor play http://www.king5.com/health/childrens-healthlink/Preschoolers-missing-out-on-outdoor-play-146486505.html

Children need to explore their environment.

John Tierney has an interesting New York Times article, Findings: Can A Playground Be Too Safe?

When seesaws and tall slides and other perils were disappearing from New York’s playgrounds, Henry Stern drew a line in the sandbox. As the city’s parks commissioner in the 1990s, he issued an edict concerning the 10-foot-high jungle gym near his childhood home in northern Manhattan.

I grew up on the monkey bars in Fort Tryon Park, and I never forgot how good it felt to get to the top of them,” Mr. Stern said. “I didn’t want to see that playground bowdlerized. I said that as long as I was parks commissioner, those monkey bars were going to stay.”

His philosophy seemed reactionary at the time, but today it’s shared by some researchers who question the value of safety-first playgrounds. Even if children do suffer fewer physical injuries — and the evidence for that is debatable — the critics say that these playgrounds may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone.

Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway. “I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed.”

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain

Related:

Children need time to play and just be children                           https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/children-need-time-to-play-and-just-be-children/

The state of preschool education is dire                                                      https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/the-state-of-preschool-education-is-dire/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©