Most US kids aged two to five get little exercise


Washington: Most American children aged two to five years don’t get enough physical activity and are overexposed to TV.

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A study of about 300 home-based childcare providers by Oregon State University’s (OSU) Stewart Trost sheds light on both positive and negative aspects of family day-care providers.

Trost, who directs the obesity prevention research core at the new Hallie Ford Centre for Healthy Children at OSU, said a big concern was TV exposure in such a young age group.

The providers surveyed were caring for infants aged up to five years, and two-thirds of providers said they had the TV on most of the day.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends no more than two hours of TV per day for children for the two to five age group, and discourages TV viewing for kids younger than two years.

While many providers (78 percent) reported offering more than an hour of time for active play daily, 41 percent said children sat for extended parts of the day.

“Would you withhold fruits and vegetables from kids who misbehave?” Trost asked.

“All the research shows that restricting physical activity makes children more, not less, likely to misbehave. So it’s not even an effective means of punishment,” he added.

Trost said the most eye-opening result of the study was that less than half of the childcare providers had received any training in physical activity, said an OSU release.

One area of nutritional concern was the use of whole milk and an over-reliance on fruit juice. More than 50 percent of providers reported serving juice every day, and less than 14 percent served low-fat milk regularly.

The findings were published in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.