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Preschoolers In Home Care Need More Physical Activity

According to research released at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), preschoolers in family or home based child care situations are not meeting physical activity recommendations. With millions of children in some kind of child care situation, and an increasing rate of obesity in young children, studies such as this one should shed light on a growing problem in North America.

However, when a study looks at 27 children (12 boys and 15 girls) spread across seven homes over the course of 86 days, its results cannot be taken blindly. Millions of children are in child care, and they look at only 27? And realistically, the child count is not as important as the child care location count (seven), since arguably the kids from one location would all be doing relatively similar activities. So the ACSM took a look at seven homes over the course of 86 days and made a conclusion. I am not disputing the conclusion, just the means used to come to it.

According to the CDC, children need at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day. Examples of moderate intensity physical activity include brisk walking, playing tag, and swimming.

I am sure that physical activity recommendations are not being met, not only for young children in child care situations, but for kids of all ages. When we, the current generation of parents, were kids, there was no home internet, no all-day preschooler cable network, no video game consoles, no DVDs of television programs and movies and “educational content”. We played outside not because it was the healthy thing to do, but because it was the only thing to do. Now, we, as parents, need to realize that there are more distractions for our kids, more alternatives to physical activity, and take a more involved position in their free time.

And hey, I will be the first to admit that I do a really poor job at keeping my kid active on a daily basis. I come home from work and I’m wiped. I know it can be difficult. If it weren’t for my wife, my daughter would probably watch a lot more television than she does now. She does get out during the day, and we try to get her outside after dinner now that it’s summer and no longer dark at 4pm. The bottom line is we’re not just making sure they meet recommended targets for her health; we’re also developing habits that (hopefully) will stay with her for the rest of her life.

What do you do to keep your young kids active? Do you try to meet the recommendations of the CDC and ACSM? How successful are you? Do you have any tips or tricks to offer other parents when it comes to getting their kids active?

You can read more SciFi Dad at Tales From The Dad Side

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