Physical Activity Declines Over Preschool Years. A New Zealand study has determined that children's daily physical activity levels declined between the ages of 3 and 5, while their time spent in front of the television or in other sedentary activities held steady.
Lead researcher Dr. Rachael Taylor, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, points out that because there has been little research on levels of children's physical activity, it's not possible to know whether this is a normal developmental pattern. However, she also points out -- rightfully -- that young children typically love to be active...so this is the time to foster that!
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Being Outdoors Lowers Risk of Nearsightedness. Here's one more reason to send the children outside everyday: A study published in this month's issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science reviewed several large studies examining nearsightedness, or myopia, in large populations. The studies agreed that the risk of myopia drops in children who spend more time outdoors. A child's chances of becoming myopic if he or she has two myopic biological parents are about 6 in 10 for children who spend zero to five hours a week in outdoor activity. But the risk drops to two in 10 when outdoor activity exceeds 14 hours a week.
The researchers aren't sure why being outdoors lowers the risk of nearsightedness. It's possible it's due to more time spent in the sunlight, or to more time spent on distance viewing. But the reason hardly matters, does it? Let's just send the children outside!