The play’s the thing


Scientific analysis confirms that Grandma was right: Sending kids outside to play is an ideal way for them to get the exercise they need for healthy living.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently studied 106 children at an urban elementary school. They wore pedometers to measure the number of steps they took and to keep track of when they engaged in moderately vigorous activity.

The research results, published last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that “the greatest quantity and intensity of physical activity” occurred during outdoor recess, not indoor gym classes. On average, girls took 41 percent more steps at recess than in gym; boys took 55 percent more.

Far too few children are getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Making recess part of every school day, everywhere, could provide the solution.