For younger elementary school students, recess promotes more physical activity than gym class does, according to a study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.
Pedometers were placed on 106 students in grades 2 through 5 (ages 7-12) in urban elementary schools in St. Louis. On average, girls took 41 percent more steps (976 to 692) during recess outdoors than in gym class indoors. Boys took 55 percent more steps during recess (1,281 to 824).
Students in grades K-12 should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity in school each day, according to guidelines established by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. A recent national study of children aged 6 to 11 found that only 42 percent were getting that amount.
The study was published in the November issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control.
Kids: Break away from TV
If you make your kids get up frequently from in front of the television set or the video game for breaks of as little as one minute, you can reduce the health risks associated with inactivity, according to research conducted by a children's hospital in Canada.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute studied 500 children in Quebec age 8 to 11 with a family history of obesity. They were looking for risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The frequency of breaks was found to reduce health risks more than the length of the breaks, the researchers found.
Playing video games was the principal cause of sedentary time for boys, watching television the principal cause for girls, researchers found.