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ABCs and No Skinned Knees: Study Reveals Various Barriers to Physical Activity in Child Care
Date:5/5/2009

NIH and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-Sponsored Study Focuses on Childcare Providers Perspectives

CINCINNATI, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 75 percent of children ages 3-6 are in child care centers, and many are not getting enough exercise.

A focus group study of child care providers by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center shows several reasons children are not getting as much physical activity as they should: some providers said they feel pressured by parents to prioritize classroom time for learning over outdoor time for motor development; some providers cited a fear of injury and the cost of playground design and upkeep as other barriers to children's physical activity in child care.

The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was presented May 2 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore.

"Child care providers told us that many parents were more focused on their children learning cognitive skills such as reading, writing and preparing for kindergarten than their participation in recess," says Kristen Copeland, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the study's main author. "And yet childcare providers realized that some of the most valuable lessons in science, nature, cause and effect, and even important social skills such as problem-solving and peer negotiation, all come from playing outdoors on the playground."

The child care providers said that during playtime, children learn gross motor skills, such as learning how to skip and throw a ball. They noted that children who master gross motor skills at an early age tend to become more self-confident than other children, win more friendships, and develop their social skills.

Other barriers to physical activity cited include licensing standards that made outdoor playg
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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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