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U.S. pre-schoolers too inactive

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COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A South Carolina researcher says U.S. children aged 3 to 5 are not getting even half the minimum two hours of exercise they need daily.

Russ Pate of the University of South Carolina-Columbia, in a study funded by Gerber Products and summarized in November's issue of the journal Pediatrics, studied activity levels of 281 kids at nine preschools in Columbia, S.C., including church-based, private programs and Head Start.

Pate and his colleagues fitted the kids wore accelerometers, a small activity monitor, for about 4.5 hours a day and monitored their activities, USA Today reported Monday.

He found that the children engaged in an average of 7.7 minutes an hour of moderate to vigorous activity at preschool. Often it was done in blocks of time when the children were outside.

Pate also found that boys were more likely to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity than girls. That has been consistent at all ages, Pate says.

Also, children ages 4 to 5 were more likely to be sedentary and had fewer times of light activity, like walking slowly, than 3-year-olds.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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