Study Promotes 'Exercise-Friendly' Day-Care Centers

A study by researchers from University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill School of Public Health found that children did more moderate and vigorous physical activity if the child-care center: had more portable play equipment, such as balls, jump ropes, hula hoops and riding toys; offered more opportunities for indoor and outdoor active play; and provided physical activity training and education for staff and students.

Contrary to popular belief, climbing structures, swings, balance beams and other stationary playground equipment were associated with less intense physical activity, according to the study. However, these items are beneficial to other aspects of child development, such as motor and social skills, the researchers noted.

Peaceful Playgrounds finding number 2 relating to the importance of consumable or loose equipment (balls, jump ropes, hoops etc) is consistent with this finding when applied to elementary school students. The addition of this new information on preschool age children further emphasizes the importance of the availability of portable equipment in enhancing children's physical activity levels.