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Preschool Play Tends to Be Sedentary

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Even though most parents will tell you that their preschool aged children never stop, a new study shows that even when preschool children are playing outside, their play tends not to be active.

Researchers found that 89 percent of children ages three to five at community-based preschool programs who were thought to be physically active were in fact sedentary. The study, published in the January/February 2009 issue of Child Development also found that the children focused on received little encouragement from their teachers to be physically active.

“The low levels of children’s activity and the lack of adult encouragement point to a need for teachers to organize, model and encourage physical activity,” wrote lead author William H. Brown, an education professor at the University of South Carolina in a news release.

“Because children’s health and physical well-being are an important part of development, their physical activity needs to be increased in order to promote healthy lifestyles, particularly for preschoolers who are growing up in low-income families and who are at greater risk for poor health outcomes,” Professor Brown wrote.

The researchers also found that children tend to be more active when balls and other items were made available to them, especially when outdoors and when open space for play was available.

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