Preschool-age children at child-care centers need far more opportunities for physical activity, suggests a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics.
The authors observed 98 children ages 3-5 at 10 Seattle-area child-care centers for at least four days between 2012 and 2014. All of the centers had schedules that called for at least 60 minutes of daily outdoor playtime, which coincides with recommendations for children of that age. The children wore accelerometers to gauge their exertion levels.
Only 12 percent of the activities in an average day at these child-care centers were considered active play opportunities. Children were sedentary for 73 percent of their overall time, engaged in light physical activity 13 percent of their time, and involved in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for the remaining 14 percent of the time. Their mean amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was 55 minutes per day; 34 percent of children reached 60 or more minutes per day.
A version of this article appeared in the June 03, 2015 edition of Education Week as Early Years