Improving Kids' Fitness Isn't Just Child's Play
If you want
to increase your children's likelihood of being physically fit, improve
the places in which they play, a new study shows.
children are more likely to be physically active if they are given an
attractive place to play and are supervised by adults, the study has
found. Physical improvements to school grounds, such as basketball
hoops and tennis courts, along with adult supervision, were associated
with four times as many boys and five times as many girls being
physically active during free time, according to Dr. James F. Sallis of
San Diego State University and his associates.
raise the possibility that making realistic improvements to school
environments could increase the physical activity of students
throughout the school day," he said.
average fewer than 2 percent of girls and 6 percent of boys were
physically active at school outside of physical education classes. At
the most active schools, 5 percent of girls and 11 percent of boys were
physically active, the researchers found.
the lack of an environment that encouraged the children to play was
associated with near-zero levels of physical activity, according to the
study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
involved 24 public middle schools with an average of more than 1,000
pupils each. Schoolwide estimates were based on average rates of
moderate-to-vigorous physical activity across play areas, including
indoor gyms and outdoor fields and courts.
common improvements to activity areas were basketball hoops and courts,
baseball backstops, volleyball nets, tennis courts and racquetball
courts, researchers said.
overall message of the study was, "'If we build it, they will come --
and be active...' it is not clear how much further improvements in
school environments could boost student physical activity," Sallis