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Kids In Home-Based Day Care Lack Physical Activity

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Children who attend a home-based child-care program may hit the set nutrition standards but they get a failing grade when it comes to physical activity a recent study shows.

A researcher at Oregon State University surveyed about 300 home-based child-care providers who looked after children ages two to five. Though 78 percent offered more than an hour a day of active play, 41 percent said children sat for extended periods during the day, and two-thirds said the TV was on most of the day, the study found.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 2 to 5 shouldn’t watch more than two hours of TV a day.

Researcher Stewart Trost, an expert on obesity issues, said that another finding, that 63 percent of child-care providers restricted active play or exercise as a form of punishment, was alarming.

“All the research shows that restricting physical activity makes children more, not less, likely to misbehave. So, it’s not even an effective means of punishment,” Trost said in the study which is published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Another startling finding, he said, was that less than half of the child-care providers had received any training in physical activity.

But the providers did “pretty well” in promoting healthy eating habits, the study found. Very few said they served fried foods or high-fat foods at meals or sweets or chips as snacks.

Bottom line?  Make sure you set the guidelines for what your child eats and how much physical activity they get.  It will set them off on the right wellness foot.

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