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Catherine Holecko

Triple preschoolers' play time

By November 7, 2012

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Preschooler pushing doll in strollerGot an on-the-go preschooler? Have you ever stopped to think about how much physical activity she is getting every day? Most experts recommend about an hour of moderate to vigorous activity for adults and kids. But the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2008, don't actually cover kids under 6.

New recommendations from two U.S. researchers, published online last month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, provide the missing link. Young children should be getting triple the physical activity recommended for older kids: three hours a day, cumulative.

Sound like a lot? While it's true that most preschoolers are busy and frequently in motion, their physical activity tends to be sporadic and light in intensity. So parents and caregivers should make an effort to boost both the amount and vigorousness of kids' active play. As Kara Corridan of Parents magazine points out here, 3 hours a day translates into roughly 15 minutes per hour. That doesn't sound nearly as daunting!

Photo: Catherine Holecko

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