The CDC Report That Shows How Kids Get Their Outdoor Play
A landmark study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that playgrounds and sports facilities are often not even completed. But when children have access to an outdoor, school-based facility, they play an average of three times more outside, according to the report.
And while children’s existing exposure to playing on school grounds is limited, this study suggests that improvements to both buildings and programming are needed to increase outdoor play by kindergarten students.
In fact, 15 percent of U.S. schools fail to provide any sort of outdoor play facilities in the school day. The CDC adds that outdoor facilities that are not completed include playgrounds, sports fields, runways, and other play areas.
In addition, the CDC report found that nearly one in three schools have not built or installed any school-based physical activity infrastructure since before 1998. One in five schools has no physical activity infrastructure at all.
According to data from the WHO, more than half of global school-aged children live in areas without dedicated, adequate playgrounds and many don’t have access to safe outdoor sporting equipment. When they do have access to outdoor recreation facilities, they spend an average of just over one hour a day in outdoor play.
This report suggests that outdoor play is needed before children can initiate and maintain healthy physical activity and sports activities.
The report also found that physical activity begins at home and is best advocated by consistent, daily playing and walking.
Therefore, schools have the opportunity to play a key role in the development of outdoor play among children. The study also suggests that schools can take part in policy changes that encourage increased play while paying close attention to data on overall physical activity among the school population.
The report is the first analysis of school-based physical activity infrastructure to come from the U.S. and focuses on schools. It was published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.