Study: Preschools lacking in physical activity opportunities

A new study out of the University of South Carolina found that 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in preschool are anything but physically active, even during playtime outdoors.

Given recent findings and data on childhood obesity, the results should unsettle parents and health professionals. An estimated 60% of the nation's 3- to 5-year-olds who are not in kindergarten are enrolled in center-based preschools, and previous studies show more than one-quarter of children ages 3 to 5 are already at risk of becoming overweight.

According to the study, of 539 children in 24 preschools, 89% of the children's day was characterized as sedentary. Even when the children played outside, 56% of the activity was sedentary, 27% was light physical activity and only 17% was moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The teachers rarely encouraged the children to be more active, said the lead author of the study, Russell Pate, of the University of South Carolina.

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