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Kids more active when playground has balls, jump ropes, UNC study shows
Date:12/11/2007

associated with lower intensity physical activity, researchers said, but are beneficial to other aspects of child development, such as motor and social skills.

The researchers also noted that centers with more computer and TV equipment actually scored better on activity levels. Its unlikely that TV and computers promoted active behavior, Ward said, but it could be that centers that have the resources to buy media equipment may also spend more on equipment and activities that promote physical activity and provide supplemental training and education for staff.

Although previous research pointed to a link between physical activity and the child care center that children attend, there had been little data explaining which aspects of the child care environment actually promoted vigorous physical activity. Not surprisingly, researchers said, children in centers that ranked higher on supportive environment criteria in the study receive approximately 80 more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity and 140 fewer minutes of sedentary activity per week compared to centers having less supportive environments.

Child care providers can play a huge role in encouraging children to be active and developing habits and preferences that will help them control their weight throughout their lives, Ward said. The easiest way of increasing physical activity may be as simple as providing more active play time, and providing relatively inexpensive toys, like balls and jump ropes. Our data doesnt go this far, but parents buying toys and games for children this time of year might consider stocking up on jump ropes and hoola hoops. And for their own health, they should get outside with their children and run, jump and play, too.


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