Friday, December 18, 2009

Home Child Care and Exercise

I recently read an article from the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine about a study of approximately 300 home-based child care providers in Oregon. The study,, had some good and "not-so-good" findings.

The study was conducted by Oregon State University's Stewart Trost who is an expert on childhood obesity issues. First the good news: he found that most providers did "pretty well" in regards to serving nutritious foods and teaching children about healthy eating habits. A couple of nutrition concerns he did have included the use of whole milk in children over the age of 2, and the overuse of fruit juice in the menus. Children over the age of 2 do not need the extra saturated fat that comes with a serving of whole milk. Skim and lowfat milk both provide the same nutrients as whole milk but at a lower calorie cost! Juice should be limited to 4 ounces per day and fruit should be served instead so that children get the benefit of healthy fiber.

The "not-so-good: news? 2/3 of the providers reported that they had the tv on most of the day! Also, many providers reported that the children sat for extended periods during the day. Remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of television per day for children between the ages of 2 and 5, and none for children under the age of 2. You may also recall that it is recommended that toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity every day and at least 60 minutes unstructured physical activity every day. For preschoolers, the recommendations are 60 minutes structured and at least 60 minutes unstructured.

An interesting fact from the study was that the majority of the providers had not received any training in physical activity. While this is not a requirement of the job, it does help to know the developmental skills for each age group of children. Then you can find activities to enhance these skills.

The following website is an excellent resource if you are looking for ideas on how to get your kids moving : !

1 comment:

  1. I agree, there is NO tv at my child care home.