60-Second Health

Kids Fail to Get Outdoors

Boys get more outside playtime than girls, and almost half of parents do not take their preschool-aged kids out to play once a day. Katherine Harmon reports

It's springtime, and that means mud pies, bug bites and scraped knees—if you're a preschooler. Or at least it used to.

Health experts say young children should get at least an hour of physical activity a day. And studies have linked more time outside with motor development, improved mental health, better behavior and, of course, more sun-supplied vitamin D.

But a new study of nearly 9,000 U.S. children found that almost half of preschool-age kids are not getting outside at least once a day with their parents.

Girls were even less likely to be taken outside than boys, and some families reported not taking their young children outside more than a few times a month. The findings are in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. [Pooja S. Tandon, Chuan Zhou and Dimitri A. Christakis, "Frequency of Parent-Supervised Outdoor Play of US Preschool-Aged Children"]

Kids who had daycare were slightly less likely to get the time outside with a parent. They were also unlikely to get the recommended minimum one-hour of physical activity while at daycare. So researchers recommended checking in with care providers about time outside. One hour out of 24 isn't too much to ask, right?

–Katherine Harmon

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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