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Clothing Choices Present Barrier to Outdoor Activity for Kids in Child Care Centers
Date:11/5/2009

CINCINNATI, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over half of US children ages 3 to 6 attend child care centers, and many may not be getting enough outdoor exercise because of the way they are dressed when they go to school.

The study, reported in BioMed Central's open access journal, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, will be published on November 6.

A team led by Kristen Copeland, MD, Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, conducted a study of 53 child care providers from 34 child care centers in Cincinnati to examine why physical activity levels may vary across centers. Through a series of focus groups, they found, unexpectedly, that clothing was potentially an important barrier to children's outdoor physical activity.

Inappropriate clothing included inadequate outdoor clothing, such as a lack of coats and gloves in the wintertime; unsuitable footwear, such as flip flops; and "nice" or expensive outfits that were not to be ruined. The study found that a few children dressed improperly could prevent the entire class from going outside, thus restricting physical activity.

Dr. Copeland noted that in some child care centers, if one child in a class showed up without a coat on a chilly day, the whole class had to stay inside. "Even more surprising to our team was the fact that the child care center staff members said some parents appeared to send children to the centers without coats so they'd have to stay inside," Dr. Copeland said. "The staff attributed that to parents concerns about their children getting injured or dirty or having a cold that my be exacerbated by cold weather," she said.

"We were surprised that some teachers reported that they had seen a few parents intentionally take their child's coat with them to work, so that the child would not be allowed outside." Teachers attributed these
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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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