A study has found that children aged between two and five years old have found 66 percent of children are not getting the nationally recommended three hours of daily physical activity needed for their growth and development.
The PLAYCE study, led by The University of Western Australia, tracked the physical activity of 1600 children from more than 100 Perth early childhood education and care services over the past two years.
The findings indicated the average daily physical activity on care and non-care days combined was 150 minutes in toddlers and 174 minutes in preschoolers. In comparison, over an 8-hour day at early childhood education and care the activity was only 123 minutes for toddlers and 139 minutes for preschoolers.
In general, larger centres had bigger outdoor play areas and more free running space for children to be physically active.
Environmental factors also contributed, with most centres having a wide range of outdoor play equipment but little indoor play equipment for active play. Indoor areas are important for play, especially on days of bad weather. More natural features in centre outdoor areas such as trees, shrubs and edible gardens are also important for active play.
Services need to ensure that they implement opportunities for children to participate in physical activity. Offer a wide choice of play-based, physically active learning experiences that link to children’s interests, abilities, identity and prior knowledge. Physical activity in childcare needs to be made up of both spontaneous and intentionally planned active play (child initiated and educator-led) that can be done indoors or outdoors. In addition, as active role models, educators can encourage children to participate in physical activity.
Two-thirds Of Young Children Do Not Do Enough Physical Activity, The University Of Western Sydney, 6th April 2018
Healthy Kids - Physical Activity, NSW Department Of Education Office Of Sport and Heart Foundation