Even preschoolers don’t get enough exercise in America.
For the first time, the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has released federal guidelines on physical activity, fitness, and health that include specific recommendations for preschool children between the ages of three and five years old. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, released this week (Nov. 12), are the result of 21 months of research from an advisory committee made up of 17 non-federal experts in physical activity and health.
The guidelines recommend that preschool kids be physically active for at least three hours a day. But the average US preschooler doesn’t meet that standard, according to available data. For example, a 2015 study published in Pediatrics looked at 98 preschoolers in 10 child-care centers in Seattle and found that they only got an average of about 48 minutes of exercise a day. That’s bad news both for kids and their caregivers.
Encouraging kids to be active
American children, including preschoolers, are increasingly sedentary—which can have with devastating consequences for their physical and mental health. Childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a lack of physical activities in kids and adolescents can increase their risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, low bone density, and breast, colon, endometrial, and lung cancers. There’s also an important linkbetween daily physical activity and better grades, school attendance, and cognitive skills like memory or concentration.