STUDY: Physical Activity Among Preschool Children
Physical activity is one of the four corner stones of Playground People’s philosophy on what is needed for a great playground so we are always excited by new scientific research into this area where children are concerned.
It has long been established that the fitness habits of school age children and teenagers follow them into adulthood. Lack of physical activity is, beyond doubt, a factor in heart disease and obesity:
Studies show that blood vessel changes and other factors, which are the initial signs of incipient cardiovascular disease, are detected as early as in 3-year-olds, who have several risk factors, such as elevated body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure and elevated blood fat and cholesterol counts (1).
A correlation between these risk factors and the amount of physical activity in 9-year-olds and 15-year-olds has been established in European Youth Heart Studies.
Interestingly there is very little research on the negative effects that result from lack of physical activity among pre-schoolers. However, given the evidence supporting its benefits for older children, the Danish researchers behind a recent study are hoping to prove beyond doubt that physical activity is every bit as important for the under 5 age group.
A study of the extent of physical activity among children during the time spent at kindergarten that identifies the determinants of their activity patterns would be most relevant. For quite some time, we have wanted to study the effects of physical activity on the health of preschool children.
In order to establish such a study, further information is needed on what actually determines the extent of pre school children’s physical activity in educational facilities, hence the researches have carried out a pilot study in Denmark:
The pilot study had two primary aims:
1) to describe the level of physical activity by 3 to 6-year-olds during the time spent at the kindergarten;
2) to determine the demographic factors significant for the level of physical activity at the kindergarten, including the children’s sex and age, the type of kindergarten, the area where the school is situated and the socio-demographic data of the parents.
A copy of this initial study and it’s conclusions can be found here: http://www.kompan.com/media/16620/Physical_Activity_among_Preschool_Children.pdf
We are looking forward to the next phase of this research and we will keep you posted on this as well as other play related research as we learn more.