Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Aren't The Day Care Children Playing Outside? Flip Flops, Mulch And No Coat

Date:
May 5, 2008
Source:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Summary:
At a time when over half of US children (aged 3-6) are in child care centers, and growing concern over childhood obesity has led physicians to focus on whether children are getting enough physical activity, a new study of outdoor physical activity at child care centers has identified some surprising reasons why the kids may be staying inside.

At a time when over half of US children (aged 3-6) are in child care centers, and growing concern over childhood obesity has led physicians to focus on whether children are getting enough physical activity, a new study of outdoor physical activity at child care centers, conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, has identified some surprising reasons why the kids may be staying inside. The study, will be presented May 5 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"It's things we never expected, from flip flops, mulch near the playground, children who come to child care without a coat on chilly days, to teachers talking or texting on cell phones while they were supposed to be supervising the children," according to Kristen Copeland, M.D., lead author of the study which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. She noted that because there are so many benefits of physical activity for children -- from prevention of obesity, to better concentration and development of gross motor skills -- it's important to know what barriers to physical activity may exist at child-care centers.

"With so many American preschool-aged children in child care centers, and previous reports that the amount of physical activity children get varies widely across different centers, we wanted to explore what some of the barriers to physical activity at these centers might be," said Dr. Copeland, a physician scientist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's. According to the most recent statistics 74% of US children aged 3-6 years are in some form of non-parental child care. 56% percent of 3-6 year old children spend time in centers, including child care centers and preschools. Her team began by exploring child-care center staff members' perceptions of barriers to children's physical activity. They conducted focus groups with 49 staff members from 34 child-care centers in the Cincinnati area (including Montessori, Head Start and centers in the inner city and suburban areas) as the first of several studies on this subject.

"We found several previously unreported barriers that meant kids had to stay inside, including inappropriate footwear such as flip flops and inappropriate clothing for the weather," said Dr. Copeland. In some child care centers, if one child in the group shows up without a coat on a chilly day, she noted, that means the whole group has to stay inside. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the child-care staff members said some parents appear to intentionally keep their children's coats (or send children without coats) so they'd have to stay inside, which staff attributed to parents' concerns about the child getting injured or dirty, or a having a cold that may be exacerbated by cold weather.

Teachers said they also felt pressure from some parents who were more concerned with children spending time on cognitive skills, such as reading and writing, than on the gross motor and socio-emotional skills (such as kicking a ball or negotiating with another child for a turn on the slide) that are best learned on the playground.

Then there was the mulch factor. "The staff members who participated in the groups were really concerned about mulch in the play area," said Dr. Copeland. "Many said that the kids eat the mulch, or use it as weapons, or it gets caught in their shoes. It also requires constant upkeep. It's certainly not something that we had anticipated as an issue, but judging by the amount of and intensity of the discussions among child care teachers, it really is."

Dr. Copeland said the child-care center staff recognized that they themselves could sometimes serve as a barrier to children's physical activity. "We heard reports of teachers talking or texting on cell phones instead of interacting with the children while on the playground," said Dr. Copeland. She continued, "We found that a staff member who doesn't like going outside--maybe she's not a cold-weather person, or she thinks it's too much work to bundle up and unbundle the children on a cold day -- could act as a gatekeeper to the playground." In some cases, staff reported that their own issues with being overweight prevented them from encouraging children's physical activity.

"This initial qualitative research has identified a number of issues that we will be exploring in subsequent studies," noted Dr. Copeland. "Clearly this is a complex issue --But finding out what the barriers are is the first step in addressing the problem and getting more kids involved in more much-needed physical activity."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Why Aren't The Day Care Children Playing Outside? Flip Flops, Mulch And No Coat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505072824.htm>.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2008, May 5). Why Aren't The Day Care Children Playing Outside? Flip Flops, Mulch And No Coat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505072824.htm
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Why Aren't The Day Care Children Playing Outside? Flip Flops, Mulch And No Coat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505072824.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins