The National Institutes of Health is spending nearly a half a million dollars for researchers to observe how much time preschoolers in daycare spend outdoors.
The project will also use GPS and light sensors to track kids’ physical activity levels in a “robust” effort to fight childhood obesity.
“Physical activity lowers the risk of obesity in children, is independently associated with numerous benefits related to health and well-being, and tracks from preschool-age to adolescence,” according to a grant awarded to Seattle Children’s Hospital. “The amount of time preschoolers spend outdoors is thought to correlate with their physical activity levels.”
“Yet, most US children today likely spend less time playing outdoors than previous generations,” the grant stated. “The study of children’s outdoor play time is not merely about resurrecting less digital, more unstructured childhoods, but is related to serious public health issues.”