Sedentary Preschoolers

I love watching young children at play. Kids are designed with energy to burn. Unfortunately, though, they’re not burning it!

Preschoolers are so naturally full of curiosity and energy that it’s almost a cliché – but today’s screen-time activities have taken that curiosity and funneled it into a sedentary lifestyle. A disturbing study in the July 17, 2004 Lancet followed the daily routines of three-year-old children, and found that they spent most of the day sitting around.

Television, videos, computers, and video games can be quite mesmerizing. The kids in the study average only 20 to 25 minutes a day in active play – only about a third of the (conservative) 60 minutes a day usually recommended. I recommend that kids get at least two hours a day of active play to truly thrive now and in the future. We are raising the most sedentary generation of children in the history of our planet. If we want to improve the health of our children we urgently need to help them make a habit of active fun.

Published on: January 19, 2004
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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