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Nursery kids already sit too much

According to a new study, the physical activity of children consists mainly of low-efficiency activities, such as sitting, standing or walking.

Anne Soini studied three year olds for her dissertation, and found that they spent only two per cent of their time in the nursery at moderately straining play. Her study showed that only a few of those who took part in her study actively exercise two hours a day, which is the quantitative recommendation of Varhaiskasvatus' (early childhood education's).

"The increased sitting habits and insufficient physical activity of adults and school children have been widely discussed in the public lately. The results of this study would suggest that spontaneous, active play and general activity of children of nursery age is also worryingly infrequent," Soini reflects in her dissertation bulletin.

Soini considered comparative materials between Finland, Holland and Australia, which showed country specific differences in children's physical activity. During the nursery day, Finnish children tended to stay put more and do less moderately straining activity compared to their Dutch peers. On the other hand, Finnish kids spent approximately 20 minutes more on light exercise daily than their Australian peers.

Soini remarks that the nursery has a big role in strengthening children's exercising habits. The majority of the study observations showed that encouragement for physical activity was infrequent.

Master of physical education Anne Soini's doctoral thesis, 'Always on the move?' which measures physical activity of 3-year-old preschool children, will be examined on Thursday 15 January at the University of Jyväskylä.